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Friday, 21 August 2009

Identify Choices and You're Ahead!

Choices are a big deal in my life.

Until one learns to recognise that we almost always do have them, choices can slip by unnoticed and are wasted.

Once understood, I reckon they can introduce us to a path towards happiness or helplessness, productivity or inactivity, self realisation or mediocrity, the ordinary or the extraordinary.

For many people, the matter of having choices can be a big revelation. And choices are not simply beer and skittles, for they carry with them the reality of a big word – responsibility.

Once we’ve made our choice it’s our bag, not anyone else’s.

All actions are greeted with a reaction. Once we make our choices we need to live with them, and need to make them work.

I say to my children that they would be wise to look out for a fork in the road throughout their lives. By that I mean to suggest that they recognise when it’s time to make a decision – a decision that may very well carry huge consequences for the future.

The trick is to recognise the moment when we are being presented with choices: to understand that it’s time to pause, investigate and mull over facts and feelings, before taking the next step.

I encourage my kids to make their choices wisely; not becoming worry warts, but taking enough time to produce a confidence that the choice has been made with care and knowledge.

Every day is generally filled with seemingly insignificant forks in our life’s road: ‘Do I go shopping today or do I make a cake and take it to Mum’s for morning tea?’

‘Should I go out with that boy I met at the disco, or keep my promise to attend the movies with a school mate?’

On some days there are more important forks in the road, requiring a lot of careful thought before making a decision.

‘Will I take my best friend’s word that taking a tablet of Ecstasy is worth the risk – or not?’

‘Will I marry him or will I not?’

‘Should I take this job or that one?’

‘Will I sell my business and strike out on my own, or stay where I am for another year?’

Recognising and making a choice are the first steps of course; steps which can be taken in the twinkling of an eye if we’re not careful. It’s the living with those choices which takes the time and effort.

End of my little soliloquy.

My small thought bubbles (above) came to me this morning after I was sent an advance copy of Roger Emerson Fishman’s new book ‘What I Know – uncommon wisdom and universal truths from 10 year-olds to 100-year-olds’, out in the US of A next month.

I’ve spoken about ‘What I Know’ on 70 Plus previously, after I saw the announcement of its coming.

It turns out to be a small book with a big inside.

It’s the kind of book you keep nearby somewhere and take up occasionally for another fix. Before you know it you are being encouraged to reach out to others and their wisdom – and that’s quite a reward.

‘What I Know’ collects stories and little gems on diverse topics including perseverance, keeping your word, reinventing oneself, sharing, friendship, parenting, change and longevity. It’s attractive and easy to read.

Roger chats about choices in one of his many anecdotes throughout the book. He talks about his young son Jack 'the centre of his universe' and the life lessons he'd want him to know and practice. The fact that Jack will always have choices is one of them.

As I consult this book, and if just some of the wisdom rubs off, it's possible I’ll be able to make my personal choices more easily and wisely in future … and perhaps so will lots of others.

What do you do when you come to a fork in the road in your life?

Do you find it easy to recognise choices?


  1. I love this post! It's so true that making choice is often easy or even happens unnoticed by us... And you're right - living with the consequences of our choices, and without too many regrets, is the art of living...

  2. Hello June. Such great wisdom! I always say to my children that they should attempt to live with no regrets. It has always been my goal in life to live on purpose and in a way that I wouldn't be guilt-laden from bad / wrong choices. But I'm becoming increasingly aware that even when I do make great choices, which I'm content with, they too, may lead to regrets later. The ne regrette pas of life seems one of those fallacies we put upon ourselves.
    Anyway, hope this makes sense. Thanks again for your wisdom. xx

  3. Hi June. It's funny that I just wrote along the same lines (big decisions) in my own blog. Some decisions are agonizing. It was good to read your thoughts...I especially liked the advice about living with your choices once they've been made. I'm bad about agonizing over a choice way too long before I take the big leap--a tendency that has caused me immense grief on a number of occasions. So thanks for the tip(s).

    I've not read "What I Know" but I'll look for it. While reading you, though, I was reminded of a book I read last year called "Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart" by Gordon Livingston. The focus isn't so much about facing choices, but more about living life in the face of changes that come about within and outside our own power. Good book for all ages.


  4. Hello again LADYFI
    I agree, although I do think recognising that you are in a fork in the road and examining the choices then can really avoid some big problems as well.

    I would agree absolutely that carefully taken choices can still be bad ones in the end, but in my experience the percentage of success is greater after a deal of conscious consideration.

  6. Great minds ANANJI! (:

    Yes, agonising over choices can be a problem too - that's what I meant about encouraging my kids not to become 'worry warts'. Just enough consideration is about right!

    I think the book you mention is talking about resilience?

    An Australian woman named Anne Deveson wrote about the ability to pick yourself up during and after adversity in her book of that name -'Resilience'. She is one wise lady.

    I think resilience has to be among the greatest of gifts.

  7. Hi June, so agree with this post, I am going to Amazon now to see if I can order this book or when it will be in Canada...Thank you....:) Hugs

  8. Hi BERNIE
    Yes, Roger's book is certainly well worth while. It's sort of a catalyst to thought - small, almost unassuming, but it's gathered together the experience of many - served up in one little parcel.

  9. Hi June:)

    Very interesting post on choices.

    Our success or failure in this life depends on the choices we make. God has given us common sense to make choices wisely but very often we ignore that small voice and make choices which bring us immediate gratification instead of choosing things which are difficult but will give us satisfaction and success in the long run.

    As you rightly said we come across forks every day in our lives and very often we take the beaten path instead of the road less traveled.

    Have a nice day June:)

  10. JOSEPH
    I someone who loves paths less travelled ... taking them is when we make discoveries.

  11. So many times I have made a good choice at the time, but things happen. If it so happens that it was not right, I bite the bullet and live with it. One can only rely on values to make choices that is what I find to be my parameter.

  12. QMM
    Yep - values, plus hopes, desires, opportunities, needs, loves, wishes, dreams - on and on.

  13. Hi June

    I like your little chat on making choices and making them with awareness and thought.

    I recently took part in a very interesting meme called a transformative moment. I wrote about the realization that I had the power to choose, and hand in hand with that power came the responsibility to make the choices become reality.

    thanks for the post today

    Happy days

  14. Excellent post much wisdom in your words.
    As I grow older and know, love and trust myself more, choices become alot clearer and easier to choose which fork in the road to take.
    Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

  15. I don't always recognize opportunities when they are presented, and could likely benefit from Fishman's book. I grew up in a household where we were buffeted about by life (and my father's alcoholism), where it didn't seem there were any choices. The adults in my life at the time didn't have courage to make responsible choices, instead just drifted along like a leaf on the surface of a river.

    I started making choices for myself when I left home and joined the US Navy, and have been learning, slowly, how to make good choices since then. I still have a great deal to learn, and at 62, I'd better get hopping.

    Good post, June - wise and thought-provoking; thanks.


  16. Hi June!

    Thanks so much for sharing such Great Wisdom! Everytime i read your blog, i feel like i am hearing an Angel resonates so deep within the Soul.

    We can all learn a great deal by coming here and spending a little time going through your posts.

    I am definitely very interested in purchasing a few copies of Roger's book and would love to present it to a few people.

    I love the quote:

    "never regret anything in life, for at one time it was exactly what you wanted"

    Much Love From Vancouver,Canada!

    Sandy xx

  17. Also wanted to say thanks so much for the comment on my Natural Health Blog :) I should have also mentioned there the importance of getting Vitamin D naturally through direct sun exposure for 10 minutes everyday without sunscreen.

    Much Love, Sandy xx

  18. Hi June, This is a great post. I have faced many choices in my life and taken many chances. Learning to deal with the choices we make, take responsibility for them, and learn from them is what matters. My children often ask me what I would do in a given situation. Most of the time it boils down to two choices in my opinion but they often don't seem to recognize this. Many times bad choices turn out to be good ones if like you say, we accept responsibility for them. I don't know if any of what I have written makes sense after reading back over it! I have always loved change in my life but a lot of people don't seem to be able to deal with it very well. Hope you are having a good weekend.

  19. between every stimulus and response, there is a choice to be made.Abend in the road is not the end of the road.

  20. Hi June, Well mate there isn't a lot left for me to say as it has all been said... I tried to comment this morning at 10.15 am and was nearly finished when the flippen screen went blank and emptied this wee box - Heaven only knows what the hay happened!! Gosh ! I've just noticed .... What a sensible comment in the previous one by 'nsiyer' erm...

    I will definitely be looking out for Roger Fishman's book, I remember you making comment about it a wee while ago..

    Cheers for now - here comes trouble ....that's Rob just appeared to cause havoc - need to move my butt off this machine ... it's supper time. Kate x.

  21. I thought I had lost you. I've always enjoyed reading your posts, but dropped you somewhere and don't know how. So. I'm back - you're back and we'll go from there.

    You always have great posts. Keep up the good work.

  22. DELWYN
    We're on exactly the same wave length then!

  23. PEGGY
    My old Dad used to say that it would be great if we could put old heads on young shoulders.
    The point is that we can't, so have to work for our wisdom ...

  24. Hi CROW
    You sure had a battle didn't you? You must be proud of where you are now eh?
    At 62 you are still a baby, so there's plenty of time to enjoy all of the fruits of your work so far, don't you think?

    Hey - there's no angel writing this blog that's for sure. I simply do my best ...
    Thanks for the kindness however!
    Yes you're right about the ten minutes a day to get our dose of Vitamin D. Aussies have been such good people obeying the rules to slip slop and slap that they are doing themselves a danger, missing out on this natural vitamin, apparently.
    Depression can be one result!

  26. JUDY
    Your wisdom about choices and your love of change (or resilience) shines through your blog Judy - so what you say is no real surprise to me. You have lucky kids.

    The bend in the road is not the end of the road - that's one for me!

    If I really knew your hubby Rob I'd say (from what I do know through the ether) that he would be the least fearsome person there is. You don't fool me.
    What did you have for supper? What time do you have it over there?

  29. Very thought-provoking post! I have always reacted instinctively to choices. And regretted some of them, but not for long.

    The comment of a balanced lady, methinks!

  31. Hi June! I love this post too!

    I guess sort of like Sucharita's comment, I use to jump into things without "thinking about them" only to realize later that they were pivotal moments in my life.

    I have become a bit more cautious over the years and that felt natural but recently this has made me restless.

    I finally have gone back to my "old" ways and have started to plunge into things which has made me more aware of these forks in the roads. It is hard to explain but I suppose it means that I have to start walking around and doing things in order to see the chances in front of me. I will try not to be a worry wart like I have been for a while and instead enjoy life and the choices I get to make for a better road travelled!

    Thank you for making me more aware of myself (yet again) with your thoughtful post!

  32. Hi TULSA
    I'm quite certain you would have worked it out for yourself. However, if I did help ... thank you.
    I reckon there's nothing like a bit of conversation between friends to make things clearer.

  33. I have no problem making a choice. I tend to do so without too much thought, relying on gut feeling, intuition.

    As for finding it easy to recognise choices. How would I know? If I haven't seen the choice then I don't know that I may have missed it.

    Sometimes we get 'wise after the event' and think we may have missed an opportunity but I think that often misses the point; given the information available at the time the original decision was made and the mindset we were in too.

  34. The more difficult time is when I find looking and re-looking at the various scenarios that might happen as the result of which path to take. Of course, you can't really know, you can only be reasonably assured or horribly brave.

  35. G'dday Write Blog
    Intuition is certainly part of my decision making too - and I have respect for it. But so far as I'm concerned rational thought and research are essential.
    To each his own eh?

  36. June, you are a godsend. No! I'm serious! I have been reading so much on the web lately and you are the first one that is "not" under 45 or so.(Turning 60 this year, love all seven of my kids, their generation just doesn't think the same)

    Sometimes a forced direction turns out better than a person would think.

    I lost my job this year ( the day job everyone talks about not quitting, up and quit me). Our plant was covered under TAA so I get to go back to school. I have been feeling a tad OLD! Then this morning I started reading your blogs and it has made my day.

    It's hard to start over. Losing my job, meant losing any chance of a decent retirement on time. Getting to go back to school is both good and bad, depending on what side of the desk you're sitting on. I always loved learning so it's not so bad. My classes are online, so I can go to school, write, and do research....all from the same place.

    This fork in the road was one I was always meaning to take anyway. I just had a case of the "Maybe I should wait till (fill in any stupid excuse here). Now that I am here, I mean to make the most of it.

    Thanks for a great inspiring site.

    G'day - I love your blog and it's good to have you drop in here.
    I went to uni after I retired - voluntarily and at the age of 60. I sat in classes filled with people less than a third of my age and I had a ball.

  38. MHMOORE (again)
    I tried to leave comments on your blog and Wordpress didn't let me. Thought I'd pass this on ...

  39. Some choices are very hard to make. I had to make one for my husband who suffered with cancer. Now I have to make choices about how I will live the rest of my life, alone for the first time. Even with careful thought, I ponder my decisions and re-live the moment over and over. Did I do the right thing?
    Love you posts, June. So good to read words from someone about my age. Someone with whom I can identify.

  40. Smiles. we respond even to a choice.
    Good post, June.

  41. Like a true Libran, I have to weigh all pros and cons before I make a decision, much to the annoyance of those who close to me. And if ever, I have regrets ( fortunately nothing serious) I tell myself things could have been worse, and thus console myself.

  42. GLENDA
    I feel in my bones that you would have made the right choice.
    It was a fork in the road for both of you. You obviously loved your husband very much and he was so fortunate for that.
    I know from experience that suffering of your kind will pass in time, but it's sure hard for a while.
    I loved your poem, by the way ...

  43. Kanani
    You're right of course. And it's an important one!

  44. I'm with weighing up choices Radha, but I'm a Leo - I don't take TOO much time and then I roar about it.

  45. Hi June,

    I agree with you and everyone that has commented. I think, too, that it can be important to realize you still have a choice(s) in situations where most are likely to feel stuck/frustrated at times, in a job, marriage/relationship, with your kids. Feeling like you really don't have a choice, or can't see it. I mean I know I would never abandon my kids, but there are people who choose to do this. It's always there and recognizing it periodically has helped me to feel good about the decisions I have made :)

  46. Sarah
    Yep, that backs up my own feelings. It takes away the trap in the situation and can encourage us to look further for solutions.


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