There are times in our lives when we don’t have many choices. When we are children our parents choose what we eat, where we go, what time we go to bed, what we are exposed to, and at what point we start to put our first foot down onto the ground of the grown-up world. As children, we feel as if this lasts forever, though it is truly only a finite period of time, just a snapshot in our photo albums.
As we move through our lives, second to minute to hour of every day – we choose. Choice is something we practice every day, like breathing. There are varying degrees of what we are choosing, when and how, but we are choosing. We choose to get out of bed at some point, we choose a destination, we choose to say hello and we choose to say goodbye. Every time a part of our bodies moves, we have made a choice.
We don’t think about those choices every day. They are automatic. For all of us, however, there are bigger choices that we need to make. These choices are not always easy. They aren’t the fun decisions we get to make – these are the choices that shape who we are at our core as well as how we appear outwardly to the world. There are consequences to these decisions, and therefore they require energy, thought, and time – all the things in short supply for all of us.
Because of our limited resources, some of those choices start to get packed away in the closets of our day. And just like everything else in our closets – well, my closet at least – we forget that those choices are there, that they are ours and they belong only to us. We pile feelings about and around those choices like the winter coats we put away for the summer. The weight of all the other stuff we pack in there makes it hard to see the choices that are now all the way in the back, and they seem to have disappeared. We close the closet door and go on with our day.
Days turn into weeks, even years, and at some point you will be revisited by the circumstances that first brought you to the choice you did NOT make – the one you put away, covered up, and closed the door on. The one that is now heavy with old feelings, which now feels as though it doesn’t exist. It is easy (well, much easier) to say, “I did not or do not have that choice; that choice is not mine.” It is harder to put your hand on the doorknob of that closed door, to unearth what you have buried, to look at all the stuff that you loaded on top of it, and to see that your choice was – as it always was – there all the time.
What choices are you choosing not to make? What handles are waiting to be turned to open doors that have been closed? We have an opportunity every day to choose. No matter what the choice is, we have it. There is truly only one person who can get in your way – and it is you. Big choices are hard and making them can be very difficult. But if you don’t make them – if you don’t take that opportunity to choose – it does not mean that the choice was not available. It means that you chose not to take it.