Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Starting Over

In 1979 I was given the opportunity to start over, by being pulled from a situation that if left in would have altered my life in ways I can only imagine. Chances are I would not have lived to see this day. I was given a chance to start over.

Twenty-seven years later as I look back on those events and the many other events in my life since that time I wonder how many chances does one get in one lifetime to start over. How many times can we, or others around us change the course of ones life and give them another chance? I’ve had many.

Sometimes it is because a person comes into your life and suddenly things are different and what was important no longer seems that way. That has happened in my life as well. Each time you look at the opportunity with hope and dreams and then another event or person comes into your life and puts another perspective on who and what you are. Then more choices are demanded of you.

Or it could come one day when you are working in a dead end job, just trying to make ends meet and suddenly that job that you despised is taken from you or you walk away from it. Suddenly a job that you thought was taking you nowhere now makes you realize it was your life. Unfortunately you learnt that too late. But just in the nick of time something happens and puts you back on your path, and those lessons are soon forgotten. But then you find yourself in the same situation only under different circumstances and you once again forgot the lesson you learnt from before. The same mistakes are made and choices are placed before you and make the same ones that you made before. Over and over again the cycle continues until you finally learn from your mistake and when the opportunity arises again you make the adjustments and do not make the same choice you made before.

Twenty-seven years ago I had a choice to make and with the help of someone dear to me I was able to make a choice I was afraid to make on my own and it brought me to where I am today. And as I said before, probably saved my life. Eleven years ago, again I was at a crossroad and not willing to make a choice and someone stepped into my life and I chose a path. I chose that path then; thinking they would be there with me through it, but as I found out, that wasn’t the case. So for a few more years, do to that choice that was made, I had to learn another step into the lesson we call life.

Now again today I am living with choices that either I made or others made for me and again I am wondering if I made the right ones. I look back on those others times to see where I may have made the mistake, but honestly I didn’t see them then and now I wonder if I am still not able to distinguish which choices were right and which were wrong. Sometimes it is more difficult to see your own mistakes than those of others around you. Their mistakes are easy to spot. We can sit back and say that if we were in their position we would have done things so much differently. But would we have done anything different if in the same situation with the same choices and emotions involved in that decision? No, I venture to say probably not.

But I finally figured it out. Or in my feeble wisdom, I think I did. Others didn’t make those choices for me, regardless of how much I think they did. They may have influenced me, but ultimately I made those choices. And when I made those choices I made them for what was right for me at that given time. I thought I looked at how it was going to effect my future and my current life and I chose. Ultimately it was I that had to live with the consequences of those actions, not so much the others that were involved or were the influencing factor. But me, the one who made the choice.

We can sit back and look at our life and blame a lost job, a lost opportunity or another individual for our mistakes and even our accomplishments but that is not the case. It is us. It is our own spirit, personality, our drive or whatever we want to call it but ultimately it is ourselves.

So here I am, again at a point in my life where I am dealing with the consequences of my actions and choices, and whether they are good or bad I can only look at myself for the answers. I also can only change the situation by my own efforts. I cannot wait for a knight in shining armor to come and whisk me away, or to sit and wait for the opportunity to fall into my lap by some divine power. I have to make it happen. I have to take control. I have to look deep within myself at my past mistakes and accomplishments and find where that strength is to get me through another cross in the road.

Weighing my options has never been a strong suit for me. When I’ve made choices in my life before I take it head on, sometimes with no thought or even perception of how it is going to effect me or others around me in weeks, months, even years to come. I would say we all are guilty of that. In the heat of a moment, or in the passion of the battle we decide, not thinking about the possible outcomes.

So what were those lessons we learnt from those past choices we made; if thrown into another situation we are going to react the in the same manner because of who we are? I’m not sure, but I think those past lessons play into the scenario even without our conscience mind realizing it. It has been said for every action there is a reaction. But how do we make that reaction without…reacting?

To use the old cliché, life is too short to cry over spilt milk. So I suppose I will make the choice the same way I have before. With what I feel in my heart is right. Giving no thought of what my mind is telling me, and just hope it all works out in the end. Will I use any lessons I learnt before? You bet I will. Will I look back on the decision and say; I wish I would have done that instead? Yes, probably. But you know what? Regardless if it is the right choice, or the wrong one, only one thing is important. Am I a better person because of it? I think we all are. Just as long as we learn. It may not be something we even realized right now that we learnt, but somewhere down the road when the next opportunity arises, or it’s time for the next choice we will remember.

Over the next few weeks DJ and I will be starting over. Due to choices made we are proably going to have to leave our home and move in with his mother to get our finances back on the right track. Have I learnt lessons from this? I certainly hope so because I'm not sure I have too many "starting overs" let in me.


BentonQuest said...

Michael, it sounds as if times are tough, but it also sounds like you have weathered tough times before. It doesn't make it any easier, but it gives us something to keep our focus on the future. I wish I could say more to help.

Drew said...

Just remember that every choice made up to this time in your life put you on a defined path to our friendship. :-) Okay, stop swearing....LOL