Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had made different choices?
There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t making choices of one kind or another. What should I wear today, the blue or the grey? Do I have time to eat breakfast? Should I apply for another job or keep the one that I have even though I’m not happy there? Which doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant should I use? Buy? Sell? Stay? Leave?
And these are the relatively easy choices to make; they may or may not have far-reaching consequences. But what of the ones that do and you don’t realize it at the time? What if it’s really a matter of choosing the road less traveled and for one reason or another, you choose the one that you think is safe or that makes the most sense and then you find out that you made the wrong choice?
At the time I met Shirley, she was in her late seventies and she was unhappy and bitter at how her life had turned out. She told the story of how when she was a girl, she was standing at the top of a hill and she had the thought that if she went down that hill, her whole life would change or she could stay where she was and not go down there.
She decided to walk down the hill and her whole life did change. She met a man who pursued her for the next two years. He was kind and gentle and treated her like a queen so, when he asked her to marry him, she said yes. And then, for the next sixty years, he was abusive and had a violent temper.
Shirley could have chosen to divorce him except that in those days, you had to prove adultery. She didn’t have the money for a lawyer and she had no way to support herself, so she stayed with him and took his abuse. I’m sure she had cause to regret walking down that hill all the days of her life.
What choices do we make without weighing the consequences? If we knew then, what we know now, would we still make the same choices? And if we made a bad choice, would we make a different one or would we live with the one we made?