I’m currently reading an interesting bit of fiction that I was drawn to because of its story line of choice and what would happen if you made every single choice intentionally the polar opposite of what you thought you really wanted or had initially planned to make. The idea piqued my interest not just as a fun book to read but the concept itself and what might my life REALLY be like if I indeed attempted to do just that. How might my now look different if I had started doing this 10 years ago, and what might my ten years from now look like if I did this right now?
The book assumes one of two things when it postulates this concept to the heroine. Either she one, must not be making decisions at all, aka just going with the flow of life and allowing life to happen to her; with the idea being that no matter what you do you are destined to end up in the same place so what is the point of fighting the inevitable. Or two, that she is making decisions but those decisions are still based on the initial concept of her actions truly have no impact on the eventual result so she might as well just make the easy choice if it is all going to be the same in the end. No risk, no muss, no fuss.
So if I am going to truly consider this concept I have to decide if I think my fate or destiny is in fact static and pre determined. hm… this is a tough one for me to buy into. Perhaps because I have seen first hand how my intentional choices, purposeful actions, and seemingly wild decisions have sent me down pathways I am convinced I never would have gone down otherwise. I don’t really buy this theory to being with. I think my fate, my future, is something still in flux and being altered daily depending on my choices. The choice to get up or sleep in. The choice to read to my children or make them play outside. The decision to pursue writing or just forget it and be happy with my 9-5 job. All of these choices will no doubt have an impact on where I will be in the future.
or will they?
When I was 23 I moved from my home town to Oregon. A state I didn’t know much about, and a city I knew even less about. I took a fairly big risk. I knew no one, I had no income, and no where to live. That road lead me to owning my own successful business, a string of useless relationships, becoming a home owner, a failed business, and the addition of two more dogs. Had I stayed in Colorado, and even more to the point stayed in my then relationship, I can almost guarantee I would not have done any of that. But here in lies the rub, it is now many years later and I am back in my home town, by choice, but still, does this possibly mean that inevitably this is where I was always meant to be and I could have saved myself the struggle of the last 15 years if I’d just stayed put in the first place? Would I have met my husband? had my crazy children? found a work from home job?
I don’t know. Highly doubtful. Or is it just that I would have met some husband, had some children, and worked some job, potato patato?
I think I have actually subscribed more to the logic of infinite universes. You know the nerd theory that there are an infinite you in an infinite universes and each one is slightly different because they all made just slightly different choices in their world than the ones I make in mine, and for each choice there is a subsequent split into two more universes. There is a me who chose to stay in bed this morning is by chance having a better or worse day because of it. For instance, there is a universe where I might have tried illegal drugs, married my high school sweetheart, or even died in a motorcycle accident. All because of choices the me in those worlds have made as they live every day life. To go to college or not go? To marry or not marry? Have children or not? Read this book or that? eat this or that?
This theory, that our choices matter so much that the resulting life possibilities is limitless is by far a more reasonable and logical theory than the idea that everything is inevitable no matter what you do so just let life take you like a river and enjoy the easy ride down stream. I will say, often, I am envious of those who seem perfectly content to take the easy ride down steam, then I remind myself how limited their life experiences usually are and what they are probably missing out on just by lack of variation alone. I wonder if it is fear or anxiety that stops them from taking chances, leaping, or even just standing a little bit on the edge.
So I believe we impact our own lives and our futures with every choice we make. I believe there is no pre determined fate or destiny. I believe we can alter our path at any moment if we are willing to make decisions that are hard, different, sometimes scary, often wonderful, but never just going with the flow. So, if I find any inspiration in this work of fiction, it would be that maybe my decisions are not always the best. Perhaps they are clouded with over thinking or past mistakes. Maybe over time choices and decisions become less authentic as we are clouded by life experience and disappointment. It is the old adage of learning rom our mistakes or saying “if I could go back in time”. Sure if you could go back you might make a different choice, hoping against hope that the new choice would avoid whatever outcome it is you found so displeasing, but there is no guarantee that the new choice won’t lead to something worse than you already experienced. So what would be the point?
But, this isn’t about fixing old choices and their outcomes, this is about making new choice without the bas of thought and experience. This is about making decisions based on the decision alone, not the outcome. So you feel like a burger? then you get the salad. Want to sleep in? Too bad, get up. Planning on avoiding the holiday Christmas party? Nope, you’re going. Maybe listening to our gut limits our lie and the opportunities that we are presented with. Maybe playing it safe, or in our comfort zone, or basing decisions on rational thought prevents us from truly living? I’m not advocating walking into fire because you gut tells you not to, duh. I’m just saying that the next time you think you know what is best for you, you think you already have the answer, its just right there on the tip of your tongue, maybe this time you just do the opposite. After all, it was your choices that got you where you are, now where would you be if your choices were just the opposite?
What I am reading: The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch. I was up till 1 am reading this. I really like it.
What I am listening to: Ways to go, by Grouplove
Inspirations from the ether: So many this week, wow. Anything about the Batkid, seriously if you don’t know what I’m talking about Google Batkid.
Now moment of the week: Scavenging the yard with little men looking for tennis balls on their “bikes” while dogs stalk us looking to steal said tennis balls.