Choose Your Own Adventure: Letting Go of Every Possible Life Path

Image Credit: Author


In life, we can do anything, but we can't do everything, so choosing a path - any path - is better than not choosing at all.

Wouldn't it be nice if life was like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel? Where we could just go back at critical points in the story of our lives and live out a different ending based on a different choice?

When I used to read these novels as a kid, that's what I would do; I would read every single ending because I was fascinated by the prospect that, by making a different decision, the story would end differently.

Don't you think that would be the absolute coolest thing - to actually see how we and our lives would turn out differently with each decision?

Unfortunately we can't do that. Such a fun fantasy, but not a reality. So why am I bringing up these la-la land fantasies?

Because the mistake many of us make when faced with so many possibilities is not to choose at all. Since we can't test out every possible life path, we choose no particular path and end up floating like driftwood on the sea of life. (TRAGIC!)

Life is like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel in the sense that you do get to choose which path you'd like to navigate.

You can choose any path, but you can't choose all paths: "Here's what my life would have been like if I had done X instead of Y, Y instead of X, or if I'd just skipped X and Y altogether and gone straight to Z."

We can do anything, but we can't do everything.

At some point we have to choose; we have to let go of all possible versions of our lives in order to commit; to Choose Our Own Adventure.

Why should we commit?

Because the grass isn't greener on the other side, it's green wherever you water it. 

That means in order to flourish, we have to commit. We have to say 'yes' to one path and one version of ourselves, which means saying 'no' to all the others.

But because this seems like such a big decision, many people don't choose and end up wandering aimlessly through life. I know this first-hand because in many ways, it's what I've done.

I've started again - again and again - while trying to find the ONE thing that would define me; the ONE path that would be the 'right' path.

But what I've learned along the way is there's no one version, and no one path. Now this might sound contradictory to what I've said above, but what we forget in the process of commitment, is that we can always change our minds.

The only permanent decisions in life are kids and tattoos. (I have none of the former and too many of the latter.)

Image Credit: Author

Besides that, every decision is reversible to some extent; there's always an exit. It might not be a pleasant one, but it's there. (i.e. If you decide to get married, and then discover that ooops, that just wasn't for you, you can change your mind and get a divorce.)

That's what we forget when we're trying to decide on the best path or the best version of ourselves; we can always start again; we can always redefine ourselves.

What I'm suggesting is that we commit fully and wholeheartedly to one path while we're on it, knowing that we can always choose a different path if and when we want to. Choose Your Own Adventure...for right now.

Just because one particular life choice wasn't a "forever" path, doesn't mean it was the "wrong" decision. It was right at that time for who we were then, but then we outgrew it and that's ok.

It's incredibly important to recognize when we've outgrown certain situations so that we can let them go gracefully and make room for the next right thing.

I know that letting go can be hard, because living in the chasm of having let go of the old thing but not having the new thing yet can be scary; how do we define ourselves, our lives?

But learning to reiterate is what most of us need to do. Because when we do, we realize that every decision isn't so weighty; when we know how to reiterate, we let go more easily and we're not afraid to begin again.

I've been a professional scuba diver, a full-time baker, and a corporate events manager; I've re-invented myself again and again.

Image Credit: Author

All of those were the right decision for me at the time, but they weren't my final destination; that's ok.

Part of the reason I hit the reset button so many times was that I tried to live out every version of myself. But I now realize I'm at a point in my life where I need to focus.

Those other paths and versions of myself were amazing and have made me into a well-rounded person with lots of fascinating stories to tell. But I've become aware of the fact that if I want to make real progress in any one area, then I need to focus instead of scattering my energy.

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Not making a decision because we're afraid of making the wrong decision is a choice in itself; we'll still get some sort of outcome, but it'll be an accidental outcome as we're carried along with the whims of life, versus a deliberate result from a course that we've set for ourselves and navigated towards.

Deciding is better than not deciding because with decisions comes action and with action comes momentum.

Choose something. Choose anything.

Choose YOUR OWN Adventure.

Newton's First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force.

People are generally much happier when they close other options down.

Image Credit: Justin Luebke on Unsplash


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