At some point, some scientist said something about infinite universes – that for every action we take here, an alternate version of ourselves takes a different action in another universe, and so in theory every variation of our lives exists in the cosmos. And so to me that begs the question, which version of your life are you living?
The older I get, the more increasingly clear it is to me that just about everything in our life is a choice. Even those things that we didn’t choose to happen to us are controlled by how we choose to react to them. But the thing is, I don’t think we particularly like that. I don’t think we as humans are terribly comfortable with how much power we actually have in our own lives. And so rather than make decisions, we look to something else – a person, a society, a norm, a habit – to make them for us. That way, you see, there’s always a place to put the blame. That way it’s never our fault if we make the wrong choice.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog about how I’d gotten a glimpse of three different versions of my life over a short period of time. I got to see what my life would’ve been like if I stayed in the place where I once, very briefly, lived as a child. I got to see what my life would’ve been like if a college relationship had worked out, and I got to see what it would’ve been like if I kept up with friends who long ago fell out of my life. And it was fascinating, honestly. I saw all of these different versions of how my life could be and how I could be right now if circumstances had just been a little bit different. If choices had just been a little bit different.
Knowing that every single choice you make is just that – a choice – is terrifying. You are in absolute and complete control of the decisions you make, and that’s not an easy realization. It’s much more comfortable to not make decisions, but stagnation is the worst possible fate. We are constantly reaching forks in the road, and constantly having to choose which way to go. The only thing we can do is be aware when that happens instead of switching to autopilot. We control which version of our lives we live. Now I’m not sure how much good that knowledge does, because if you’re anything like me you actually have no idea which version you want. But that’s okay, because you’ll figure it out, choice by choice.
And you know what, if Choice A, Version A doesn’t work out, you can move on to B. And C, D, E, F and the entire alphabet.
The options are infinite. We just have to choose to begin.