When I was a little girl, the most important decisions I ever made were to choose my favorite candy from the store, a cartoon channel to watch on TV, and a pet to take care of. Today, these decisions seem very simple in comparison to the ones I make. Why is that?
Is it because I am aware that there can be no wrong decisions coming from choosing a candy or a cartoon channel? Or is it that I’ve lost some notion on decision making abilities from the time I was a child? The truth is that choosing a pet to take care of as a child can actually have a very significant influence on life. The true difference lies in the fact that the child is not aware of such an influence. It is as they say, “Ignorance is bliss”
For example, when I was 7 years old, my cat died. My parents were concerned about me so decided to buy me a puppy. We went to a street full of casual pet vendors as they have in Mexico. I chose a cocker spaniel because I liked the Lady and the Tramp. The vendor had about 30 puppy cocker spaniels running around a big piece of lawn. I could have chosen any of the 30 puppies, but as I saw this very little one with a darker golden color than the rest, and decided to chase after it. It was very active and I could barely catch it, but finally held it’s little body in the palm of my hands. I took it home with me. Weeks later, my puppy was very sick and my whole family and I thought it would die. But then she recovered. I called her Bixie, and she was my dog for 9 years. From the age of 7 to the age of 16. She influenced my life in important ways. I spent time with her when I was sad, and cried over ridiculous fights with friends and boys while hugging her, I did excursions in my backyard having her as my loyal companion, I took my first digital photographs with her as my model, and I felt like I could say anything in front of her. I cried when she died. And I felt like my life changed because of her death. The truth is, it actually did. It might have been because at the time I was 16 and changes were occurring as I was growing, but the reality was, that in some way or another, she had an influence on my life.
I didn’t know any of this would happen when I was 7 years old. I didn’t even know there was a possibility anything could come from choosing a puppy. I just chose her because I wanted to at the moment. As an adult, we lose sight of what it is to make a decision. We stress about the future consequences. At times, we stress to such a large extent that we cannot even enjoy making new choices. But actually making choices is an exciting moment. It means that new adventures and experiences are about to happen.
Sure, making decisions during our late teens and 20’s can be hard because we are no longer “ignorant” of the fact that they have the power to shape our lives in an important way. Such as choosing a profession at school, a career path to develop independently, a partner to have a significant relationship with, a place to live, a particular lifestyle to abide by and much more. Our youth is our chance to become the people we want to be. We are grown ups, but we are also young. Now is the best time to make life changing decisions, and even though that is a positive thing, the power that youth holds can be scary at times. Because, what happens if we make the wrong choices?
Many young people, including myself, have thought this before. In one of those moments of confusion, a very wise friend of mine once told me, “There are no wrong choices, there are only choices”. As he said this, things became much clearer to me. Any decision we happen to make, will lead us to a certain path, and that path will lead us to another one. We work with the consequences of such a decision and follow a new path coming from it. Choices can only lead us to making new choices. This is why we all move into such different directions, and discover life in different ways. It is true, that if we choose to become doctors for example, and work very hard for it, but suddenly realize that it isn't truly what we want, then it is wise to make the new choice to stop doing it. The years dedicated towards working hard on being a doctor will never fade away or be in vain. That hard work will always have an influence on the person. The importance is to be honest with what we feel at the moment. We must do what we feel like doing when we feel like doing it. Just like I did as a child when choosing my puppy.
As adults, we must be able to deal with the reality that our choices do have consequences, unlike children who are not aware of this yet. But we must also use the power of knowledge that we own in our favor. Not only should we be aware that choices have consequences, but most importantly, that choices cannot be wrong. They are simply choices, and they should be made with honesty. The only possible mistake is to make the choices that we do not feel satisfied with or to not make any choices at all. As adults, we must train ourselves to make the choices that we want, and not those that we think we should. Being an adult, in comparison to a child, can be hard only when we do not fully exercise the knowledge we are given.
“There are no wrong choices, there are only choices” is what I keep thinking to myself as I decide whether I should travel longer or go back home, consider him in my future or let him go, live in the same place where I do now, and where I should apply for grad school. Because, does it really matter? Whatever choice I make is simply a choice, and as long as I make one out of the many that I feel comfortable and happy with, I know it's all good.