Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sliding doors

Have you ever wonder what would’ve happened if a different decision was taken at a certain moment of your life? I am not necessarily talking about huge stuff like launching the atomic bomb or passing a controversial bill; but small, daily and apparently immaterial choices that could be the difference between our current life and a totally different one.

A few days ago on Facebook I read a status pondering “how seemingly-small decisions and moments can change entire lives…” and the flow of comments that followed with specific situations, or “what if” scenarios, from the fact that someone’s parents met on a blind date to the split second decisions that cause car accidents and the serendipity behind finding the right person at the least expected place where you were not supposed to be. Breaking up with your high-school sweetheart to follow your career and, years later, wondering if that person with the multiple children and a sad look could have been your husband (making you the abnegated wife and mother of too many).

Destiny, faith, the book of life… is our future really marked and determined by our past? If so, is it changeable or controllable? Freewill is a powerful term that in theory gives us control of our acts, up to a point of voluntarily making mistakes; freewill should come with a warning: use only if you can take full responsibility of the consequences (good or bad). But it gets even more complicated than that, because our acts and so called responsible decisions are not just going to affect us individually – most of the times (if not always), they have a chain reaction among others: our family, neighbors, colleagues, acquaintances, even the friendly strangers…we touch and change lives by the minute, without even noticing.

There is no way to anticipate the unknown, no matter how hard we try, it is just humanly impossible. We should of course plan ahead and have goals, knowing that, as exhausting an exercise as it can be trying to prevent and taking care of everything, we are still in charge of our actions therefore liable for their immediate, short or long-term consequences…an endless loop of cause and effect…the undeniable gift of freewill.

On daily basis we face situations requiring choices; and every choice, has a handful of consequences, benefits, complications, reactions. Decisions....decisions… decisions. Let’s assume for a minute here that our future is not controllable and that, no matter what we decide or what we do, the final result won’t change , that we only get to pick the “how” but not the “where”…the destiny and the duration of the journey is not known and won’t be revealed….and remember: we are not alone! So for sure we will be affected by others and others will be affected by us.

Do we want to live our “how” on daily basis and make it an intense, generous, worth remembering-attitude changing-contagious positive reaction one? Or do we rather stop living and wait patiently, effortlessly, insipidly and selfishly for something that may happen someday, in a futile attempt of not altering the fragile result of a mysterious “where”.

I want to believe that by living a life with awareness and without remorse of the choices made while following your gut, instincts, senses and heart, we can make our “how” become our “where”… by the end of each day.

"You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that's clear

I will choose freewill." Rush


  1. Destiny, faith, luck....taking responsibility for our actions and making decisions without remorse...such powerful and difficult things to do! It takes a strong woman or man to be able to do it and live life without looking back. Well said amiguita :)

  2. I am so happy to hear that Verdell is doing well. :-)
    I find that I wonder "What if?" too often. I am trying to change that by being content with the present and optimistic about the future.

  3. Yo también decido decidir :) es como la vida es, ademas de ser un hecho de que hoy somos y estamos a donde nuestras deciciones nos han llevado, aprendamos de lo que decidimos, y disfrutemos el resultado. Los hubiera son un ejercicio poetico, historico... pero poco practico

    Me encanto Olguis! imaginate, si en PF hubieran tenido sap? yo no leeria este blog ;) que bueno que decidieron poner SUn no? jajaja

  4. A very reflective post, your thoughts were a delight to read. Personally, being an atheist, a natural sceptic and a rationalist, I do not believe in fate or pre-determination. We make our lives, and no one else. Of course, the world has a beautiful poetry and things do seem to work in a delicate harmony, but our choices are our own. We are all the authors of our own story.

  5. I take courage to live a full life - but the alternative is a dead but safe one. That's why some find making decisions hard because the ways are limitless. The courage I guess comes in knowing you can always change courses and decide again. Even this perfectly balanced world of ours was a decision by the Creator.

    I forgot to tell you in my last commment I'm following your blog now. Hope you'll come and follow mine. I'd like for us to be blogging buddies, smiles.


  6. ¡¡¡Aplausos!!! Alguien me dijo alguna vez que invariablemente tomamos las mejores decisiones siempre, pues de no ser así, no seríamos quienes somos... y es cierto, estamos hechos de momentos y son estos los que nos llevan a estar aquí y ahora, a ti escribiendo y a mí frente al monitor enriqueciéndome y volando con tus palabras... GRACIAS!!!!

  7. Hi OJ. First, thanks so much for your comment on my BON day. I'm glad you directed me here because, oh my, this post is SO provocative. I could think of a million things to say. Ever since I was a kid, I've had a sense of how life is a path of actions and consequences. You mentioned in your post a bad car accident as an example. When I was 11 years old, my parents were in a terrible accident that almost took my mother's life. They were in an English Ford which was unique at the time (1969) because the seatbelt and shoulder belt were all-in-one. And it was the shoulder belt part of the combo that prevented my mother from going through the windshield and likely being killed immediately. Months after she had returned home (she was in the hospital all summer), she commented on how the seatbelt had saved her life. A stoic pre-adolescent, my response was this: "Yes, but if you hadn't taken the time to put on your seatbelts, you would have crossed that intersection several seconds earlier and would not have been hit." I know that sounds heartless, in a way, but it is also the truth. Every single action we take leads to every subsequent action. P.S. My mother knew I was speaking from love and didn't view my comment as being flippant.

  8. No I don't think about these things.

    I'm sure I will now though.

    I doubt I'll get any sleep for the next week.

    Thanks for that =p

  9. Lovely post! Great reflections. Response - ability. That's the mark of a true adult. These are deep thoughts. Whatever I do, or don't, has a consequence. I am responsible for my actions, and must accept the consequences. Life is not easy, huh?

  10. thanks a lot for your amazing comments!
    @Claudia: we always talked about sliding inspired me to write about strong woman!!
    @Brooklyn: it is human nature to wonder I guess, but what's past, can't be why bother?
    @Otto: Sun ha sido tan determinante en mi vida actual, que mirame: 11 anios despues y sigo con El!
    @Sam: you are the most mature teenager I've ever "known" (just by reading you I can tell). I am a believer; I believe we have a purpose and a goal in life that is not revealed...but we make it happen on daily basis, it is our choice how to get there - we make our own story indeed!

  11. @Haupi: we are blog buddies! and totally agree with you that every day we can re-direct and re-decide...but still need to face the results of our acts; we are not perfect, just a work in progress.
    @Martha: las peores decisiones son las que no se toman! y aun esas tienen repercusiones... gracias por decidir leerme! Abrazo!!
    @Katie: I know what you said was out of were mad at life, not at your mom. I am sure now you know the accident happened for a reason...
    @Scoman: sorry to disturb your mind my aussie friend! I promise to make it up for you in my next post ;)
    @Myrna: I know! life is not easy! that's why I like it... we get to experience lots of things (if we dare); the trick is to accept the result of what we do without blaming others...response-ability!!

  12. Stopping from SITS! What a well written post. You've got me thinking.

  13. Olga:

    No había dejado mi comentario porque cuando leí esta entrada me faltaba tranquilidad mental (quiero decir que me faltaba más de lo normal). Yo creo que las decisiones que tomamos construyen una parte de nuestra vida y, de hecho, una parte importante. Sin embargo, hay al menos dos razones por las que nuestras elecciones no son del todo determinantes:

    1) Por la simple y sencilla razón de que muchas cosas importantes escapan a nuestro control, por ejemplo, el clima, los fenómenos naturales y las decisiones de los demás que nos afectan.

    2) Porque cuando decidimos no hay manera humanamente posible de que contemos con toda la información sobre las consecuencias de nuestros actos, ni para que conozcamos exhaustivamente cuáles son todas nuestras alternativas y sus respectivos costos y beneficios.

    Por eso, simple y sencillamente nuestras decisiones están acotadas por agentes externos. Lo que llaman libre albedrío sólo funciona de manera limitada (como la televisión digital, jeje). Ese pequeño espacio en el que sí nos toca decidir es, de cualquier manera, fundamental para nuestra vida y en ese espacio crecen la satisfaccion y otros sentimientos.

    Un abrazote, Olga.


  14. Hi Olga! It's Petra- sorry no profile, but this is a lovely post. I do think it's about choosing to live fully on the path you have in front of you to follow - and also sometimes making your own way on a new path. I don't necessarily believe anything is predetermined for us, but I do think experiences like meeting a "kindred spirit" make it seem like there are connections out there that we are meant to stumble upon. I do believe in the force of love and life that I understand to be God, who always wants the best for us and yet we choose which way to turn. And yet I don't believe that bad things that happen, even if good comes out of them, are desired or planned by God. Oh, so much to think about... thank you! :)

  15. OJ, this was such a wonderful and thought provoking post! I love to read all different kinds of blogs, and yours is one of my favorites! I hope you know that! :)


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