To be or not to be. To have a pizza or a pancake. To take up a day job or to pursue art. To save money or to travel the world. To love her or not. To continue reading this blog or not. Life always throws us choices. We are always at crossroads. To choose this or that. It is what we choose that shapes us. We make certain decisions and in turn, those decisions make us.
So what is it that makes us fall in dilemma at the crossroads of life? What makes us choose a certain path and or rather not choose the other? Is it the pursuit of happiness, is it the hunt towards success, is it the fear of failure or is it the escape from the myriad chaos that life offers? Or was it the almighty’s destiny that made you choose this path? Crossroads of life are a cluster of ‘what-ifs’ floating around us in bubbles of fear and uncertainty.
Robert Frost in one of his poems says,
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth
To err is human
It is the unseen future that makes this decision challenging as well as interesting. Once you have chosen a path, good or bad, you will never know if the other one was better. There are of course times when we are indecisive or have taken decisions in haste. This often leads to mistakes, mistakes turn into experiences and experiences turn into a beacon for the decisions at the next crossroads. Life is such a great machine learning model you see, you train, you learn and you perform better. The hurdles we face sometimes makes us feel we have chosen wrong and makes us regret and ponder if the other choice was better. As they say, the other side of the land always looks green. It is at this point that we need to believe in ourselves and trust our instincts to come out well. The past is always there for regret, the future only to fret. It is only the present that you can set and make the most of it.
Understand who you are
People can throw in all their advice and perspectives of what they could have done, but it is you and only you who can view the crossroads better and make up a choice. This demands stability in thoughts, commitment to the instincts, and efforts to lead past the hurdles. Understand who you are. Are you someone who values quality or loves aesthetics? Do you like sustainability or speed? Do you like challenges or smoothness in life? These little facts about oneself matter a lot because most often, we tend to flow with the trend and choose something we are not and end up being disgruntled about our decisions at a later point in time. To end up with the pros and cons of a choice, we need to figure out our principles. Some value morality, some value relationships, some valuable knowledge. To each his own. But it is important to find out the who, the why, the what and the how about us.
Opportunities or risks?
As mentioned earlier, there’s no better teacher than life experiences. To come out of complacency needs courage. For a pilot, there is no joy in flying on auto-pilot mode. For a driver, there’s no joy in riding a car on a plain road. It is the challenges, the difficulties that make us stronger mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. Crossroads give us these opportunities to come out of the comfort zones, to try new things, to see life from a different perspective, and to be resilient for the future.
Look forward, always
And then there are times when the tides seem to overpower us. No matter how good we are at making decisions, there’s always a mysterious hand at work, called destiny. Remember the legendary story of twin parrots which got separated at birth; one with a sage, the other with a thief. Something which isn’t under your control is no fodder for your thoughts. Acceptance that it is what it is and believing that there is light at the end of the tunnel is all one has to do at these times. It is this same destiny that chose you from among the millions of sperms. Make the most of it, for you and your surroundings.