I wish I could describe change like a babbling brook. Water flows gently, quietly, relaxingly down the water bed and disrupts the whole environment around it. The rocks cannot hold on, the fish continue to swim, and all the creatures around the water come there for a drink. It is nature; it is natural. It is the change that keeps the ground renewed.
Change in our own lives, however, is not particularly gentle, quiet, or relaxing. The subtle disruptions of the water do not extend to our own lives and we are often left with a large feeling of disruption, of chaos. Why is this?
Enter choice. Unlike the river of water that has no choice other than to be what it is – we’ve been given this beautiful yet fundamentally frustrating option to be whatever we want to be. To choose whatever we want to choose. Choice.
For years, we thought – there could never be enough options. We thought the more, the better! Keep them coming! Psychologists and science are now moving against that – more options means we’re less likely to move. We’re less likely to make a decision. We’re less likely to be satisfied. We’re more likely to think about what we could have had.
What should I do today? Everything but nothing at the same time.
Where should we go to dinner? I don’t know, where do you want to go? Well, there’s here, this, that, and the other… what about…?
We’re paralyzed by it but attached to it:
A medical diagnosis. You have celiac disease. Well, I didn’t choose this! I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy! I can’t accept this because I didn’t choose it!
Change can be both internal and external. Sometimes, we choose to change. Other times, it’s forced upon us. We now pick our life partners, we pick our homes, and we pick our jobs or careers. We can’t pick when life occurs. We can’t choose death – well, not easily anyway.
But then we struggle when we’ve made the wrong choice. This person is not the person I thought he or she was. But I picked them… I love them…
I can’t stand this work environment or this job… but I picked it… is it too late to change my mind?
No matter what we pick, when we pick it, and no matter what changes interrupt our daily lives, we have one choice that may be the most fundamental.
We must decide that we will live the choices without regrets.
Yes, choices hurt you. Yes, choices hurt others. Yes, the change is hard. Yes, sometimes we pick wrong.
It is okay to be wrong.
But, you are where you are right now and that is enough. Right now, you are the babbling brook. When you realize that being whatever you want to be also means that you can have what the water has, then you can make those choices. Choose the thing that calms that chaos and allows you to see clearly.
The rest is details.