Thursday, August 21

The Choices We Make

Time to wax.

Winnie the Pooh probably would have said, "Blogs are a nice sort of thing to have on a blustery day."

And why not? Everybody wants to be heard - even those of us who prefer not to declare ourselves from a soapbox in the village square. On a blog, you can say your peace at length, and not have it disappear at the bottom of the 'timeline' in three hours. On the other hand, you may end up just talking to yourself.

I choose to talk to myself, except that I ascribe names and personalities to the voices in my head. It's not psychosis. It's writing.

Well...it may be both. They go well together.

Sitting about listening to this little gem of a soundtrack, a topic comes to mind. The topic of choice. We've all heard that life isn't a game and there are no 'do-overs'. I partially subscribe to that notion, but only insofar as it applies to the same life (an entirely different topic). Choices are a part of life, and it can be said that living from moment to moment depends upon making choices.

So? Are you the type who reflects on the choices you've made? Or do you throw more coal on the fire and move full speed ahead through life? Perhaps some of both?

Two choices I've made come to mind. For one, the choice to leave Japan. Of course at the time I was a student on a limited visa with a finite bank account, but I could have worked my way towards returning. Though I enjoy all of the following aspects, I can say I didn't go there just for the people, the culture, the land, or the history. I went there because it felt like the place I wanted to be. A connection I can't really put into words, that made me want to spend my time sitting in a quiet place to relish in the joy of just being. Not that I have any disrespect or lack of love for my roots, but something about it felt like home. Yet, I didn't go back, and now I believe that ship has sailed. There are too many people and too many circumstances binding me to the states, and these are important enough that they must take priority. I am not unhappy - far from it. But, there are times when I find myself sighing with nostalgic melancholy all the same. What would have awaited me had I gone that route? Is it even really worth thinking about? My desire to be there was simply one of existence. Those who know me are probably aware I care little for the pursuit of wealth and power; preferring to enjoy my days at my own pace. I doubt I could have joined a monestary, so would I have been any happier chasing the yen than the dollar? I can't say. What I can say is, there are things I have now that I would miss. My relationship with my wife, I believe, is a rare type of love in this day and age. We are close enough to nearly be extensions of the same person, and though we have as much our share of bickering as any healthy relationship, she has my complete faith and trust. Many people in this life never obtain that - even those who find romance. My children? Well, if I had built a life for myself across the Pacific surely they would be different people, if they existed at all. I like the little people they are now. My books? Considering the circumstances upon how I come across most of my ideas, I doubt any of them would have been written by now. No matter what becomes of them in the future, they will always be a part of my legacy - even if that legacy never reaches beyond my own house.

The other choice is one of career. There was a time some years back where I had an opportunity to pursue a position at a local elementary school. I chose not to - preferring instead to chase the dollar. Uncharacteristic for me, but I learned some very important life lessons from that choice that have shaped a lot of my values today. Had I taken that job, education for my children would have been easy - go to the school I work at, graduate to the one across the street, and graduate again to the next building over from that. But, my first daughter wasn't even an apple in my eye at the time, and even though I do say I don't like money, I do recognize the need for it - I make twice what I would have made at that position now, and I don't have to look for supplementary summer work. Was it the right choice? Hindsight is 20/20.

So, I've made my choices, and now I am a devoted father of two who has chosen to put life on hold until my young ones can stand on their own, as opposed to a Buddhist otaku who may (or may not) have done the same.

It helps to put things in perspective from time to time. I am happy. Perhaps that's all that really matters.

Now then, back to the stories in my head. To whomever may be listening, I invite you to reflect on your own choices. You're more than welcome to share.

My next book? It's already written, but is on hold for a bit to prevent conflicting releases with
Everywhere the Road Ends. The topic is a secret (unless you really want to talk about it). Here's a hint:

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