While driving home from my last official workday today, I started thinking about the choices I had made that led me here. A couple of years ago, before I found out I was pregnant for the third time, I had planned to go to law school–not because I was particularly interested in being a hot-shot attorney, but you couldn’t argue with the pay. Most likely I would have been finished with school by now had I gone that route. But I wouldn’t trade my littlest boy for anything in the world. And I am thankful for a more peaceful life for my other children, not to mention a less stressful existence for myself. I am thankful for my friend Jace, someone I likely would not have met had I gone to law school since I was planning on moving to DeKalb to do that.
It’s funny how some choices are completely ours, and some choices are dictated by the circumstances around us. At least, some choices *feel* like they are our own. It could be said that no choice is made in a vacuum; every step we take down our chosen path simply eliminates certain futures as it illuminates others. For example, I can trace my love of music back to the 3rd grade when my music teacher asked me to sing a solo at a school music concert. I even remember what I sang: “Over The Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz. That recognition, that feeling of accomplishment, is something I relive in my students as I teach. That moment has shaped so much about me as a person.
The unfortunate thing is that we cannot realize at the time what implications our choices have for us. We cannot see into the future and discover how the choice we make today will play out later on. I suppose you could say that suspense is what makes life exciting, and many times that is true. Sometimes, though, you can be faced with so many choices that it’s hard to decide which way to go. Or the result of a long-ago choice keeps you from following a path you now long to follow. That’s probably why the saying, “if I had known then what I know now” is so popular, so resonant among us.
The eternal optimist in me wants to believe that no paths are completely closed to us forever. Maybe it’s just a question of time. Sometimes I feel like my life is simply a race to see how many of the things I dream of doing I can actually get done before my time is up. I can feel the distractions of too many possibilities, and also the frustration of having some paths seemingly closed to me. I have this desire to plan out my entire life, and yet each day I want so much to focus on just what is ahead of me in the next hour, the next minute. I wonder if I am putting aside choices today, in favor of what should be chosen for tomorrow. I am tired of thinking about tomorrow. For once, I want to only think about today. I don’t want to waste a day planning for a future that may or may not come. The truth is, the future is not written in stone.