When we make a choice, we are choosing something over something else. We choose A over B. And in that split second we make a decision, we are setting the path for that part of our life.
Do you ever think of the path you didn’t choose? I very rarely do. The temptation is great but I do not see much sense dwelling on that which did not happen.
The way I see it is that every decision is taken in a particular moment. It is one instance, with a background of events going on around it, and with a specific mind frame and set of emotions. Every choice is made in that arena, in that moment. A choice made a second later could lead to a hundred, different results.
Actually, thinking about it is pretty intimidating. We make on-the-spur decisions, in a moment, and they are binding ones. We rarely get second chances.
Thinking about the untaken choice is unfair, because all those factors which featured in making the first choice might not be present the second time round. Thinking in retrospect is a bitch. We are all experts afterwards.
My friend L and I were talking about this the other day. That question, “What if?…” Is it worth anything? We can’t live life thinking about the choices we didn’t choose. Think of all the useless energy we would be wasting!
My comment earlier on about not revisiting the past? Confession time.Here goes.
There is one instance which remains with me always. It took me 8 years to fully understand how much it had affected me. The minute it happened, I very conveniently forced myself to forget it and I went on living as if it had never happened.
And then my 2014 life upheaval happened and I had to face the facts head-on, without any cushioning or downplaying.
One Monday evening back in 2006, my father called us from New York. He talked to my mother, then my brother and he then asked to talk to me. For a silly reason, I didn’t want to. I had just returned from America a couple of weeks before with luggages and luggages of things, all sponsored by him. So when I asked for something else for him to bring me, his, “Didn’t she buy enough yet?” made me angry. Mum told me not act in that childish manner, but I kept on refusing.
He hung up and the next day he passed away.
I remember blaming myself for what happened, hating myself for not talking to him on the phone, and yearning to turn the clock back a couple of hours. The guilt added to the pain and suffering of those days was too much for me, so I made myself forget and dismiss the incident. It came up later on (oh yes it did), I dealt with it and life was clearer and lighter in a way.
The choice I made back then was insignificant at that time. I did not think about it again till the moment my life shattered into a million pieces. With hindsight of course I would have done things differently, but I learnt that I could not undo a choice, and I could not judge myself over something which had already happened under different circumstances.
So I stopped judging myself, I accepted the fact that it was a choice I made, a very bad one as it turned out, but I would not feel guilty about it anymore. Because that was the way it was meant to be. That was the way things had to turn out.
And if life has taught me anything so far it is that we are the sum total of our choices and decisions. They shape us and make us. We are where we are now because of our choices. Stop blaming yourself. Again, hindsight is a bitch. A Bitch.