How many different lives could you have lived? In the infinite web of possibilities, how many different versions of yourself do you think may have flourished? I do not know, nor do you. What I do know, is that there are moments throughout our lifetime that have changed our lives irreversibly. They nudge us along on a new path, toward a life that is subtly different to the one we were just living. Sometimes it’s not so subtle, many of the things that happen to us (all of them, if you have a certain belief system) are out of our control. What I am referring to are the more nuanced moments, the moments where we seemingly have a choice.

I am of the opinion that almost every thought, sound, interaction that we experience has a profound effect on the way our life turns out. Yes, even on that small a scale. The sound of the birds chirping in the morning as I wake up, I believe, subtly shifts the next series of events. Perhaps on a scale that is too small to even measure. Nonetheless, that is my belief. So then, what about the big moments?

Personally, I have had a lot of change in my life. I moved to a new town when I was young, my parents split when I was a teenager, I’ve lived in five different cities as a young adult, have had more jobs than I could count as an adult, plus a bunch more. Each of these, if they didn’t happen, would have led to me being a different person today. Perhaps you’re similar, maybe your experiences are very different, either way you’ve had your own version of events that have changed your life, shuffling you down a new path. This is what I like to call a “moment of impact”. They are important, and maybe even understated in society. Critical thinking ability and decision making skills are perversely underappreciated, if not completely unspoken about. So what, you might say? Why does any of this matter?

Well, with the added perspective and wisdom that one gains from reflecting on these moments of impact, we can be better prepared for the next crossroad that presents itself. Best to choose our partners wisely, or make a better choice when deciding where to raise a family, or deciding what type of course we allocate years of our life to studying. Stepping back from time to time, giving ourselves the space to truly reflect for the purpose of improving our decision making abilities, can only benefit our lives. Sometimes it can just be fun to look back at fond moments that have changed our lives for the better.

This is not to say we will ever be able to create the “perfect” life, perfect doesn’t exist. Mistakes are inevitable. However, I for one would prefer to mitigate as much unnecessary suffering from my life as possible. I assume you would too. And if nothing else, it’s a lovely thought experiment. There’s beauty in struggle, in lessons learnt the hard way, no matter how much suffering we endured at the time. We can find acceptance in understanding, and wisdom in the gained insight these memories provide us.

My hope is that the roads presented to you going forward are ones that fill your heart with joy and allow you to experience all the splendour that life has to offer. That the pathways you go down enrich your soul, painting your skin all sorts of different shades of love, this is my wish for you. If nothing else, I hope that the added capacity for decision making provides you with a new tool kit to mitigate any potential suffering. But love is always better, so let’s nudge you down that path, shall we?

Until next time.

M L Wood ❤

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