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Life is all about choices

As I sit here in the living room listening to two grandchildren discuss how Kings XI Punjab stunned Mumbai Indians by winning the match in the IPL tournament, I sigh a bit and smile.....the sounds of their voices over the TV, the dog lying around, two cats beating each other up, I cannot help but realize how lucky I am and how good of a life we have.

Suddenly I remembered Michael, a friend for three decades, who died a week ago. He was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. If somebody asked him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a natural motivator. Seeing this style really made me curious. One day I went up to Michael and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time.” Michael replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today: You can choose to be in a bad mood or you can choose to be in a good mood. I choose the latter. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose the latter. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaint or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the latter.

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested. “Yes, it is,” Michael said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.

Choices

All of us have heard the saying “Life is about choices.” Michael understood it very well. Life was certainly about choices for Clint Eastwood when an executive from Universal Pictures told him that “his future wasn’t very promising because of a chip in his tooth and because his Adam’s apple stuck out too much.” I think life was about choices when the owner of Pepsi went bankrupt for the third time before making it big.

We choose our feelings, we choose our state of mind, and we choose to blame others or to make others responsible for emotions. Most of us, if given a choice, would choose to have the life we have today as opposed to be in the middle of hell in Libya or Syria. But are our lives really so terrible that we have to gripe about them or wallow in our own tears of self pity?

If you have a home you are fortunate, if you have a job, you are fortunate, if you have a husband or wife you’re lucky, if you have children, you are lucky to experience some really great moments. Most of us are really lucky I think. ...lucky to just be.

Sometimes the past is painful...I have one of those that haunts me every so often but I choose to turn off the switch and enjoy what is right here in front of me... grandchildren who are so wonderful that I could just burst with pride, a roof that isn’t exactly wonderful but it’s home all the same, a wagon with bald tires but it gets me where I need to go...and most importantly a life that I chose—the key word there being ‘chose’.

Like a road

A wise person once said that life is like a road. There are long, short stretches; smooth, rocky stretches; crooked, and straight stretches. There are roads that lead to a life of single blessedness. There are also roads that lead to fame and fortune. There are roads that lead to isolation and poverty. Just like any road, there are corners, detours, and crossroads in life. Perhaps the most perplexing road that you would encounter is a crossroad. With four roads to choose from and with limited knowledge on where they would go, which road will you take? What is the guarantee that we would choose the right one along the way? Would you take any road, or just stay where you are: in front of a crossroad?

You do not really know where a road will lead you until you take it. There are no guarantees. This is one of the most important things you need to realize about life. Nobody said that choosing to do the right thing all the time would always lead you to happiness. Loving someone with all your heart does not guarantee that it would be returned. Gaining fame and fortune does not guarantee happiness. Accepting a good word from an influential superior to cut your trip short up the career ladder is not always bad.

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