New Days Equal New ChoicesPosted: December 22, 2011
Do you remember the saying, “This is the first day of the rest of your life?” The first time I heard that, I was living a very, very different life than the one I am living now. I was scared but I was just beginning to take charge of my choices. I was opening up to the belief that I might have some control over what happened to me. Thank God, I heard that my new days brought new choices.
I think sometimes about how things might have turned out if only…. It’s not that I am unhappy, it’s just that I realize that the world is full of possibilities. The path I took was not the only one open to me. I might have been a TV stylist back when TV was first starting and someone offered me a job. Maybe I would have ended up a big executive. Or maybe not. Anyway, I turned the job down.
What if I’d dropped out of college when I really wanted to stop the struggle of working my way through school? Would that have been the end of my economic opportunities? Would I have ended up in a dead-end job? On the other hand, I might have dropped out and saved my money and then gone back a year later. Who knows?
What if I had married that professor of philosophy? What if I’d gone back to school and become a professor of philosophy? What if? What if? What if?
These are mental games that someone like me, who reads a lot of novels, can play on a winter night. But it is only a game. I cannot really rewrite the past. What’s done is done. No use crying over spilt milk. The past is gone forever. We’ve all heard those words and we all know they are true.
What we don’t always remember is that there is a new day coming and it will bring new choices. We always have new possibilities to choose from. If there is one thing I have learned in my life, it is that my choices create my days. If I keep making the same choices, I will get pretty much the same results. If I choose something new, things will be different. It’s pretty simple but it took me quite a while to learn.
Now I know I can make some different choices and create a new and better future. Every new day really is the first day of the rest of my life and every new day offers myriad possibilities. I can reach out and make my day count as I move toward my dream or I can curl up in a ball and eat fudge while I grieve over what “might have been”. I have the choice.
I made some new choices about the holiday season this year and so far, I’m happy with them. No gifts, no tree and no muss, no fuss. So far, I’m happy with my choices but if I want, I can make different ones next year. I could even decide to get a tree for the New Year and send gifts for Groundhog’s Day if I wanted to. I have a lot of choices ahead of me and I get to decide.
Learning to live in the present moment is the key to happiness and to enlightenment, many sages believe. They could be right. It is certainly true that the only time we really have is Now. It is also true that if we are going to experience happiness it will have to be in the Now.
Certainly, trying to live in the past, as so many people seem to do in this holiday season, is a blueprint for disaster. We cannot have the same Christmas gathering in 2011 that we had in 1981. Grandpa is dead and Aunt Sally ran off with the plumber. Times change and so should our recipes for Christmas dinner.
However, I have found that at least some of my current happiness is dependent on knowing that I can make different choices in the future. This is the season of short days and dark nights. New days are coming and with them, come opportunities for new choices. Isn’t that what the holidays should really be celebrating?
Where am I now – past present or future?
What choices are mine to make today?