MAKING CHOICES

At first glance, this seems to be a nice saying, set against a calming background. But the more I think about it, the more it grates. There is a minor nuclear war taking place inside the left hemisphere of my brain. It is slowly breaking down and sub-analyzing on subatomic levels the choices I have made in the course of my life, and trying to determine if these were “good” or “bad.” No one can sit in judgment of you, better than you. By the way, this is a destructive practice. I am in no way advocating that anyone do this if you can help it. The past is called the past because it has passed.
Then I came across this poster, and it seemed to reduce the inherent power that choices have into something pretty and quaint. There was a Daily Show segment where John Oliver asked a man what the statistical probability was of an event happening, and the man said 50%. When Oliver asked the man to explain his reasoning, the man said, the event would either happen or it wouldn’t, so the statistical probability was 50%. Oliver may have mentioned then that the man did not understand statistical analysis. It is this kind of over-simplification that will occasionally grate on me like sandpaper on soft parts.
I’ve been thinking about choices lately, and the power they have in shaping you into the person you become. When you filter out judgment, you can see a pattern. You can see identify the choices which were truly significant and see how they changed you. What I’ve noticed over time, is that I’ve become more aware of my recent choices. Before, I was running on instinct, a gut feeling, this “felt right” whereas the other “felt wrong.” Or I “felt nothing” and just sat around. I couldn’t put my reasoning into words; it felt somewhat like that part of childhood before you became verbal, and your two choices were to cry/scream or save your tantrum for later.
What’s changed is that my choices now are active and conscious. There are many changes I’ve implemented within the past 5 years, and each change has had a ripple effect.  I decided a little over a year ago, that I was going to spend more time outdoors, every weekend if possible (and since I live in California during a drought, this is entirely possible), and the results have been startling. I’ve traveled to countries it would never have occurred to me to visit previously. My imagination never stretched that far. You meet new people, and they put ideas into your head. You see the world with new eyes, with wider and strangely younger eyes, because the world has become a new place, a strange place, filled with the potential for adventure. Suddenly, you look into a mirror, and you have changed, and this new person is someone you etched out in your mind and then shaped into the person you have become.
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