“You choose, you live the consequences. Every yes, no, maybe, creates the school you call your personal experience” (Richard Bach).
EACH TIME WE MAKE A CHOICE, TAKING ONE FORK IN THE ROAD AND NOT THE OTHER, AN INTERESTING THING HAPPENS. On the one hand, our lives expand. As we move forward along the path we’ve chosen, new elements are added to our experience that weren’t there before. But on the other hand, our lives contract. The path that we didn’t take is no longer a possibility. Whatever might have been if we’d chosen that option is something we’ve now let go of. Some similar choice might open up in the future, but it will be a different choice, at least slightly. Once choices have been made, those exact choices never come to us again. When we choose our path, we open our hands to certain things and we let go of others.
None of us is happy with every choice we’ve ever made. Now and then, we all make decisions that yield unexpected consequences. But there are two points to keep in mind about that. One is the point made by Richard Bach above: “Every yes, no, maybe, creates the school you call your personal experience.” The wonderful variety in life — the exquisite particularity of each individual — comes largely from the combination of all our choices, both the painful and the pleasant. Not many of us have complexions that are flawlessly perfect, and we don’t have a personal track record that’s perfect either. In both cases, we must learn how to be comfortable in our own “skin.”
But the second point is that we should have the maturity and discipline to act with honor concerning our choices. The man who says, “I’ll honor this contract as long as it doesn’t stand between me and something else I might want in the future” is probably not a fellow we’d want to go into business with. We all want to deal with people who honor their choices, and we need to do the same thing ourselves. In the end, it helps to know that life is made better, not worse, by things like trust and honor. We can’t always be hedging our bets, running away from risk, and trying to get out of inconvenient arrangements. Choices made and promises kept are the stuff of life.
“Life does not give itself to one who tries to keep all its advantages at once” (Léon Blum).