I've been thinking lately about the choices and paths we choose in life. Sort of a "Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Woods" kind of thoughts. (for the full poem, go here ). I've been looking at the choices I made that put me in the position to marry my husband. What if I had been more adventurous and gone to college in Ithaca, New York, or Colorado (two places I was mildly curious about) instead of sticking close to home and going to a junior college in Idaho followed by going to Reese Family Home Turf at Oregon State in Corvallis, Oregon? (in case you don't know, my grandfather was a chemistry professor there for many years, and my father went there--met my mother there--and the apartment where I was conceived has been pointed out to me many, many times...) I met my husband in Corvallis, and I have to say, that was a good road to choose. A VERY good road, 'cause he's perfect for me!
But what if I'd stayed closer to my high school boyfriend? There was definitely a time in my life where I expected to marry him. Not that THAT would have been bad, but would definitely have led to a very different kind of life.
What if I pursued my dream to sing musical theater and/or Opera? What kind of life would I have now? What if I'd been more adamant about playing sports in middle school and high school? What if I'd taken the jazz dancing classes I always wanted to take? What if I'd been able to tour Europe or go on youth hostel tours or served a mission for my church? What if, what if, what if....
I know it's cliched, but I really think that the secret to happiness in life is not necessarily having what you want, but wanting what you've got. If I were to go back (so to speak) and try to reclaim some of those set aside possibilities, what would I give up? To claim those possibilities now, I'd have to give up something. I certainly wouldn't want to give up my children. Nor my husband. I'd definitely give up the extra weight I'm carrying now because I didn't learn to love exercise and sports when I was younger. I wouldn't give up the good or the bad experiences I've had. These experiences shaped me, and I've been grateful for them.
The truth is, those two roads never really go away. There's ALWAYS going to be choices in life. Where to live, whether or not to change jobs, do we have one more baby, do I take a nap or work on chores, do I go to the store today or tomorrow...things like that. Not every choice has dramatic consequences--but we choose every day. We choose to work out our differences with our spouses rather than walk away from the problems. We choose to take care of our children with love and tenderness rather than in a place of frustration (and sometimes that's a REALLY HARD choice to make!). We choose carrots over cookies. We choose every day to be happy with what we've got.
And that's the other side.