Choose Wisely

Over the course of my not so long life I’ve made more choices than I can remember. We all have, we just rarely think about it. To a certain degree, every one of the choices has led us to wherever we are at this very moment. Whether that current standing is a good thing or bad thing is subjective. Sometimes I think, “if I would have studied as a kid, I’d be a better person now”. There is also the alternative that says, “If I had done what everyone else was doing, I’d probably be dead”. There’s no way of truly knowing, but it is 100% normal to think these things based on observed outcomes. I don’t think much about the good choices really, I imagine possibilities of my near misses in life. Not like fantasizing, more like “damn that one time was close” kind of imagining.

A Narrow Miss

On one of the many days I spent in Afghanistan in the Air Force, I made a seemingly benign choice that could have been the difference between me being alive now or dying that day. Just in case you don’t know, in deployed locations there’s not truly that much to do besides, work, take classes, exercise, do nothing, sleep and eat. Given that we’re all human and under military control working and eating were standard. It takes a little bit of time to find out what combination works for you regarding fitting in those other activities, but everyone finds their groove doing something. 

I was at Kandahar Air Base, and everything was usually packed all day every day. I was dead set on finishing my bachelor’s degree, so I was taking online classes on top of the mandatory 12-hour per day, 6-day work week, with a light 8-hour day on Sundays. I usually woke up at 3:30 am to be able to take a shower without 5 other guys in the bathroom, walked the half mile to work around 4:15 am, made my calls home to let people know I was ok and obviously check on them until about 5 or 6 am. Then I’d go online to check posts and all of that until people came to work around 7 am. I’d walk to the British compound to get breakfast around 7:30 and officially start my workday at 8:30 am. I incorporated mid-day workouts because it was almost a guarantee we’d have rocket attacks in the evening, the ideal time was the height of lunch because that’s the only time of day the gym was empty.

By my 5th month in Afghanistan, I was in a good groove and ready to go home. On this particular day, I did my morning routine, then hit the gym a little late for my midday pump. As I walked out of the gym I paused and asked myself if I should hurry up and shower to catch the end of the lunch time offering at the dining facility or just hurry up and grab something and shower afterwards. I chose taking that shower first instead of going across the street, I turned left to go to my dorm. That decision took maybe 2 seconds and 5 seconds later I was on the other side of these gigantic Alaska barriers, walking under the overhang of the gym when a rocket landed in the crosswalk that I would have been walking in had I chose to eat first. As the rocks and debris rained down, I was thinking “damn, glad I decided to shower” and shockingly enough, I no longer cared if I missed lunch or not, which was cool because I did in fact miss lunch.

Every decision isn’t that heavy for sure, this one wasn’t either honestly. The decision to shower versus grabbing food was because I didn’t want to be sweaty around people eating. It was a really good workout, so I was sweating like Patrick Ewing after warm ups, which is probably like normal people near exhaustion. All in all, I chose to not be rude, and that single decision had me safely on the other side of the barriers when things went down. Call it lucky or blessed, either way I was very happy with the outcome.

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever” 

Keri Russell 

Gummy Bears or Meth

There are too many decisions made in a day to worry about them all, so I don’t really worry about any of them. Typically, I make my decisions based on what I believe makes the most sense. I’m human, so I also make decisions out of laziness or impulse as well, but I try to keep those to a minimum. Every now and then I still choose smoothies or gummy bears when I know I shouldn’t. Unfortunately, it’s easy to rationalize a bad decision by comparing it to something worse. I get my candy thinking “this is a way better vice than heroin or crystal meth” then I eat those gummies. I need to get my shit together though because I have about 5 pounds of bad decisions posted up on me right now. 

Be truthful with yourself and other people, and try your best to make decisions outside of your ego

Nipsey Hussle, TMC

The greater good always comes with a bit of sacrifice. Sometimes that sacrifice is not indulging your senses and other times the sacrifice is at the expense of your personal comfort. These are the choices that shape us literally and figuratively. Albert Camus said, “life is a sum of all your choices” and I slightly agree with this take, minus the fact it ignores circumstance. For example, none of us chose our childhood living conditions, family wealth or lack thereof, familial relationships or any of that.  In some cases, we wouldn’t choose aspects of what we were given if it were up to us. Of course, we’d all be in a different position today if we could choose every aspect of our lives.

That said, if you are currently in a position you prefer not to be in, it will take intentional effort to change that. If you are in a good position, it will take intentional effort to maintain that. We can choose the objective good whenever we want, doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it is doable. You’ll never know the outcome of your decisions as you make them, you can speculate, but outside of clairvoyants, you’re gonna have to wait and see with the rest of us. As long as you are making the decisions for an objectively good reason though, you should be able to live with the results.

Choose wisely my friends!

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