How often have you heard someone say “if I could go back“, or “if I could do it all over again, I would….“. Maybe you have said or thought this before as well. This thought came to mind recently and I got to thinking, if I really could go back and change things in my life, would I?
Of course, when contemplating this scenario you have to give thought to the old Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. George Bailey was a man who had given up his dreams and ambitions in order to help others. His choice to commit suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence. Wishing that he had never been born, Clarence shows George all the lives he had touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.
As I glance in the rear view mirror of my life, I can see clearly that life truly is about choices. Big choices. Little choices. Good choices. Bad choices. Easy choices. Hard choices. Choices we make without even knowing we are making a choice.
Choices lead to a chain of events. What we are today is the outcome of choices we have made in the past. These choices have been the foundation for how we have chosen to live our life.
We make life-long choices that shape our character, our morality, our ethics, and our spirituality. We make high impact choices that determine our careers, our finances, and our lifestyles. We make sentimental choices on who we fall in love with and who we choose to share our life with together.
Reflection: Forty-two years ago I broke a date with a woman to go on a date with another woman I had just met. Why? I could have kept the original date and ask the other out for another day. But I made a choice to go out with the woman I had just met. That woman has been my wife now for over 41 years and the mother of our three wonderful children. Good choice. Would I change this choice? Absolutely not!
Some choices are influenced by others. Some of our choices were ingrained in us by choices our parents made when raising us. Learning right from wrong, moral from immoral. We make choices on having children. We make choices on parenting.
Reflection: After our second son was born, my wife and I made a choice for her to stay home with the kids and not work. We didn’t want to put them in day care every day while we worked, so she stayed home and raised all three of our boys until they were out of school. To this day we believe this helped mold our boys into the good men they are and the close-knit family that we have today. Hard choice, but a good choice. Would I change this choice? Absolutely not!
We make choices on our health. We choose whether we eat or drink healthy. We choose whether to put our bodies at risk by doing something unsafe or insane. We choose whether we take care of ourselves and go to the doctor for checkups.
Reflection: I made a choice three years ago, with a little push from my spouse, to make an appointment with my family doctor to have a physical after not having one the last few years. That physical started me on the path to discovering that I had a very aggressive form of prostate cancer and a large mass in one of my kidney’s. If I had not made this choice, I may not have been alive today. Good choice. Would I change this choice? Absolutely not!
Are there some choices I would like to change, sure there are. Maybe I wouldn’t have bought that Pinto car; maybe I should have bought stock in that little start-up company called MicroSoft; etc. But when it comes to the significant choices I have made in my life, would I change them? Absolutely not!
Choices are part of our everyday life. We don’t have the luxury of foresight to know the long-term impact of choices we make everyday. However, we do have the luxury of hindsight. I hope that when you decide to Glance in the Rear View Mirror of Your Life, at the choices you made during your life time, you may be surprised at the importance and impact of them. When you do, I believe that you will find that you also made some great choices, and just maybe, you wouldn’t change a thing, even if you could go back…
So, go forth and understand that choices you make today will have an impact on your life in the future. This is what the journey of life is all about!!
As a wise old Chinese priest once said: Choose wisely, Grasshopper…