Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time Travel

I am going to build a time travel machine. I really am. I want to go back and try a different tactic (or two, or three, or a dozen) in certain (past) situations in my life. I want to see what MIGHT have happened if I had made different choices. Or do I? Hmmm.

Isn't that what life is about? It's all about choices. We drive down the freeway and take the wrong offramp, and end up in a neighborhood we are completely unfamiliar with. We order a new couch in the color that's all the rage, only to find out that burnt orange really doesn't go with our light blue carpet. We choose to live correct and honorable principles or fly by the seat of our pants with no moral code to guide us - each individual choice taking us down a unique road, sometimes with a few confusing detours along the way (because of our choices).

We choose. Or sometimes we refuse to. Or sometimes we procrastinate our choices, waiting for something to force the decision one way or another, thereby taking the responsibility that goes with making a choice away from us (or at least that's what we rationalize in our minds).

And yet, when a choice is taken away from us or forced upon us, we fight to regain that right. For example, have you ever tried to choose an outfit for a teenage girl? Even if she asks?!?!

Some choices are simply not yours to make.

But, I think that for the most part, we are thankful each day for this God-given privilege to choose, which is why we are so protective of it.

We choose our spouse.

We choose our clothes. We choose to exercise and eat healthy, or be a couch potato and eat fast foods.

We choose to smile or frown.

We choose to read a book or watch TV. We choose to work ethically or just get by.

We choose the right, or we don't.

Sometimes there is no gray area when we make a choice, sometimes there is.

Everything we do is choice. And every choice we make has a consequence, sometimes that consequence is not played out instantly, but it does play out eventually.

It takes courage to make some choices. It takes courage to let others make their own choices.

I have made a lot of choices in my life, some good, some bad. Some really good, some really bad.

I didn't choose my children, they were sent to me without any preapproval or screening process. I am so glad! What if I had passed one over? What if I had been afraid to have six kids, or not wanted any more after Katrina was stillborn, or worried about some silly idiosyncrasy that I thought I saw in one of them? What if I had not had the privilege to be their mother?

I choose not to think about that possibility.

I love being a mother. My kids are grown now (my youngest, Kalen, is almost 18 and has thought she was grown up since she was 15), but as they were growing up I watched my children make choices - good and bad choices. I watched as they learned from them (some learned faster than others). Some of my kids feel I gave them too much leeway, allowed them too much freedom to choose, and maybe they are right.

But hey, this was my first attempt at being a parent. I didn't get a practice run at it. I was making choices, testing theories, experimenting with their lives basically. But don't all parents to some degree? I regret those times I fell short as a parent, both in instances where a choice I made caused the 'failure' as well as when simple inexperience was the cause.

I made decisions then, and I am making choices today. Decisions that affect not only me, but friends, family, and those I love. We are all making decisions that will affect our future. I do know that for the most part I made the best choices possible considering where I was and what I was dealing with at that point in my life. I did, I truly believe, the best I could.

I suppose time travel could make sense (try one decision, race forward to see how it works out, if it doesn't look too good, race back and try another......repeat), but something tells me we wouldn't get much done. Besides, I can't even manage a remote control, I am not sure how I would ever build a time machine. I think I will make a choice right now and scrap the time machine plans. However, choices and their relationships to time are still worthy of consideration.

Choices are important. They determine our life path. They determine our lifelong friendships. They determine our family relationships. They are our best teachers.

Sometimes, as we are planning for the future, the choices we are making today are choices about how to deal with a choice we made in the past. Wow, that sounds a lot like time travel. One eternal round. Past, Present, Future. Repeat.

I am grateful for the ability to make choices. I know I have a lot more choices to make in my life and I am determined to make better choices than some I have made in the past. I want to be a better, stronger, happier person, one who is more compassionate, more patient, more real.

I wish I could go back and change a few choices I have made, but I can't. So today I will look to yesterday for lessons I need to remember as I also look forward to the future. Wow, more time travel.

Some choices need to be instantaneous, some require thoughtful preparation. Some don't even need to be made. It's a confusing

One thing's for certain. We need to look at the big picture, the broad spectrum, the whole enchilada, the past/present/future. We really can't afford to rationalize or procrastinate, there's too much at stake and life is too short to delay.

We need to use our minds to learn from our past and plan for our future - today.

We can do this! I can do this! It's a choice, nothing more, nothing less.

Today I choose to choose.

Beam me up, Scotty! (oh dear, does that require a remote control?!)

Original Star Trek Series Intro and Theme Song

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