Our lives are a series of events that we experience. Often those events require us to make a decision, to choose how to resolve the issue of that moment. Everything that follows from there is the consequences of that choice. Many times those choices will have a small impact; we ignore these as they are a part of our daily lives. But others have far-reaching consequences, well beyond the moment it is made.
We all have decisions in our lives that impact us and those around us. Some of those are a double-edged sword, where there are no truly “good” options, so we must choose the one with the least negative outcomes, to do as little harm as we can while doing the most good. These are often the ones that are the hardest to live with.
This is when we often look back at our “what ifs” and “if onlys”. What if we had made that decision differently? If only we didn’t take this path! What would things be like now? We wrap our minds around these possibilities, the combinatorial range of possibilities, tying ourselves into knots of regret. As Lisa Wingate so beautifully says, “The hardest thing about the road not taken is that you never know where it might have led.”
To fall into this cycle is to be self-destructive. We have to reconcile ourselves with the reasons why chose that particular option. This is so hard to do subjectively and rationally. But we cannot change what has happened. The past is inaccessible and unchangeable. All we can do is to observe the present, and if ways become apparent to further minimize any negative outcomes, then it becomes a new decision point. We can weigh up the options we have now.
Every now is a chance to influence the future. Don’t let the decisions of the past bind you to history. “We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.” – Ken Levine
Life is for living.