I awoke this morning with the words “Choose your own adventure” echoing in my head. You remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 80s? You would come to a point in the chapter when the character is presented with two or three options on how to proceed. To follow your choice you turn to either page 31 or page 36. And depending on which page you turn to, your destiny, or the character’s, will change. Perhaps page 31 was a positive destiny landing in fruit tree-lined palace entrance; perhaps it was “and then you tumble into a dungeon and are eaten by a hemoglobin-starved goblin
As a pre-teen, I was not prepared for an ending I didn’t “like,” and am here to admit — I cheated. I would turn to page 31, read the next few paragraphs, and if I didn’t like what it said, I would go back and choose the other adventure, creating the destiny for myself and my reading experience that I wanted, instead of accepting what was presented to me
My life emerged to much the same pattern. Whether it is the Libra in me, weighing the pros and cons, and sitting at the crossroad brow furrowed with pro and cons lists strewn around me, and thusly moving nowhere. Whether it is the result of the pattern my life and its series of disastrous choices, I hate making decisions without knowing how they will turn out. Give me the few pages of each choice, and I’ll make my decision then.
Unfortunately, life is not in the habit of handing me the answers.
Therefore, I have come to learn to rationally consider my choices, but, in the end, to simply take a leap. Whichever road. Any decision, any action, will give me a different result than sitting, chewing my nails, and wondering what’s past the bend.
Life does let me go back, in part. If the decision leads me to a result I don’t want, I can return to the intersection and sally forth to the other destiny with newly acquired clarity about my desires, needs, and values. Sometimes I don’t know it’s the road I don’t want to go down until I’ve actually gone down it.
As I’ve been making decisions around the course of my life lately, I’ve had to remember very clearly that each path has merit, but to choose one, ANY one is better than standing still. This is very hard for me. I want to know the outcome, I want the answers, and I will pout and stagnate if you don’t let me know that I will be okay if I take this road. What I’ve learned is that either way, I will be okay. That I must choose one adventure. Today, I choose things like, moving to the East Bay instead of back to New Jersey. I choose to attend grad school instead of plodding along in a safe, but uninspiring, job. Today, I choose things like finishing the five-foot flower painting, because no matter how it turns out, it will be done, and I get a sense of accomplishment.
I awoke this morning with those words, “Choose your own adventure,” in my head. I am the agent of my own change, and I can, today, trust that my decisions will lead me toward a positive ending, even if it’s simply learning that there’s a goblin down that way.