At times I peruse my own blog to shuffle through past memories and events – while doing so earlier this week I came across a photo I had reposted a while back. In this photo a blank white wall covers three-fourths and a dark gray carpet completes the rest. Slightly off-center to the left, a black balloon with the words “THESE THINGS HAPPEN” in white lies on the carpet. This picture was reposted at a rather turbulent time in my life; I was experiencing an overwhelming sense of confusion and uncertainty in the direction my life was heading and realizing that I was disappointed with my own choices. I connected this photo with a feeling of being stuck in a vicious cycle of adverse events, a sense of being resigned to a certain “fate.” It was the idea that these negative things just happen, and I should accept them and move on.
However, reflecting back on that idea I realize that I now completely disagree with it. Yes in fact these negative things do happen, but you are not bound to them and you don’t have to simply accept something as it is. You have choices. Perhaps it’s a mistake made over and over again, a personal character trait you don’t quite like, consequences of your actions that leave you with heavy feelings and a heavy heart, something that was not entirely in your control – whatever it is, you hold the power to change the situation. You may not be able to reverse what has already happened, but you can choose to change something to improve the situation.
It’s easy to complain and dwell on how much you wish you hadn’t done something, or what you should’ve done and what could’ve happened. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve – you can turn those words not just into “I will” but “I did.” However, to do so it is not enough to consider the ways you may be able to change the situation; you must provide action. Nothing can change unless you take it upon yourself to spark progress and make choices towards achieving your goals. It won’t be the easiest thing to do and it may not provide immediate results, but a mere decision can place you on the path you aspire to walk.
To quote one of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami: “You have the right to choose your own life. You can start again. If you want a cat, all you have to do is choose a life in which you have a cat. It’s simple. It’s your right.”