The consideration of choices and their consequences has been on my mind a lot recently. Looking back throughout my life I can clearly see the outline of who I have become based upon choices, whether good or bad, that I have made. If, looking back, I can see that outline of the man I am today, then am I not currently living within the outline of who I will be in the future?
The primary motivation in any given choice seems, to me, to be a consideration of safety versus risk and reward. Throughout my life I have made choices that have led me to safety. I chose to work a 40 hour a week job. I chose an early marriage. I chose to sit alone in my apartment and play video games. Can you see the consequences of these choices like I can? Happiness became harder to come by as I aged. My social life dwindled to the point where I had few friends who were not online. My weight increased which continually cycled me into further choices of safety versus risk.
This view starts out looking very black and white. However I did not always choose safety. Every now and then I chose risk and reward over safety. My wife and I divorced. My friend and I traveled across the country. My kids and I moved across the country in the opposite direction. I reached out, and in moments of excruciating vulnerability, opened up my heart and let others in. What do these consequences look like? I found myself happier. My social life increased to the point where my support system is built up of dozens of friends and family. My weight decreased as I chose to shape my body in accordance with the life I wanted to live.
This writing isn’t intended to be my own testimonial. However it is meant to form the foundation for what I want to address. What choices are you making now? Are you happy with the choices you have made in the past? I once read a book called “Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living” by Pema Chodron (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/815715.Start_Where_You_Are). From this book I learned a very simple lesson: You start where you are right here and now. Think about it. It doesn’t matter if you are 48 years old or if you are 17 years old. You have choices that you can make right now. You can change your life with a single choice. Remember, too, that choosing nothing is still a choice.
What makes you happy? Is it writing for a living? Then do it! Will there be consequences? Yes! Can your safety be compromised? Sure! Think, then, about what you are going to do and why. If you choose safety then what type of life will you be living? Is it the one you want? If you choose happiness then will it come risk-free? Are those risks worth it?
This is the heart of what I am moving forward with in my life. Many years ago when faced with the choice of risking it all for a small startup venture I chose safety. My life had been full of regrets about that moment ever since. Why live with regret though? Start where you are. Where you are is here. What time is it? Now. Every reward within this outline I’m staring down is worth the risk. I hope it is for you too.