You can hear me read this post or read it below. You decide.
Right now, I’ve got a lot of decisions to make. When I think about it, though, I’d way rather have decisions to make than limited choices in life. Making decisions is hard, but it’s better to have choices than not.
For the past year I attended Simon Fraser University, taking their online Editing Certificate program. My courses were very challenging and very interesting. The year flew by, and soon I’ll be a certified editor.
Finishing up one thing and starting another means more decisions to make. But isn’t that the point of getting an education? An education should ideally provide more choices and open more doors. I hope mine will. We’ll see.
Choice is a privilege.
Because I’m privileged I have so many choices. I’m fortunate to have an education that I could afford to get. Nowadays, young students are typically guaranteed to be in debt for a very long time to get a post-secondary education.
I remember meeting a young lawyer back in Grande Prairie. She was about three years younger than me. But in that short span between our ages, the cost of a university education in Canada had sky rocketed. This professional woman, well employed within a local law office, was living with her parents so that she could pay down her student debt.
It’s possible she enjoyed living with her folks. It wasn’t my dream to live with my parents at 28 years old, and so I viewed her experience through my own bias, of course. To me, she seemed trapped by debt. Still, that debt gave her a fulfilling career and a good way to make a living.
She chose to shoulder debt to obtain the education she wanted, and that choice is a privilege.
Hard times mean limited choices.
From here my choices all look pretty good. I’m not between a rock and a hard place. “Lori, leap off this cliff or leap off that cliff. And, no, you can’t have a parachute, so stop asking.”
I’ve been in that uncomfortable place where I just had to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. At times, I’ve had no choice. I’ve done jobs I didn’t want to do and lived in less-than-ideal conditions so that I could escape situations I couldn’t stay in. Those were hard times. Everyone has them. Hard times show up differently in everyone’s lives, but if you’re born, you have them. That’s how it goes.
My choices are all good.
Going forward, I’ve got a lot of choices. My problem isn’t that I have no direction; my problem is that I have too many directions!
Now that I’m nearly finished my editing program, I’d like to work as an editor and writer. I want to help people make their projects the best they can be. I’d love this, but it means that I’ll need to start a business. That enterprise is chockfull of decisions.
I also miss being in the classroom and plan to substitute teach after Christmas. It will be fun to be with students again, but every job opportunity comes with decisions: whether or not to accept the offer, what to wear, what to pack for lunch.
Lunch and clothes might seem like small considerations, but I haven’t had to decide what to pack for lunch or what to wear to work for nearly a year! I can’t bring a gallon of jasmine tea and a handful of cashews for lunch, and I can’t wear yoga pants to work. Things will have to change.
Focus and quiet are wonderful.
As my life changes again, I’ll have to be careful not to get distracted by too many projects and too many activities. Over the last year I’ve come to appreciate focus and quiet. I’d like to maintain focus and quiet at least in some corners of my life.
That’s another choice. I can choose to work frantically, bouncing from one project to another, or I can choose to focus on one or two things and do them very well. But I have to decide to do it and be disciplined.
Given the choice, I’d choose choice.
There’s so much we can’t choose, so many decisions we’re not allowed to make. The chance to make decisions is a golden opportunity in a universe that decides much for us, from our place of birth to our genetic code. These are huge factors in determining how life will go, and we have no control over either of them.
I’ve been forced to make decisions because I’ve had the opportunity to make decisions. With freedom comes choice.
I was born into positive circumstances and in a war-free, wealthy country. I was born to parents who cared about education and born late enough in the world’s timeline to be allowed to get an education. The more I sit here and write, the more grateful I am for all the decisions I’ve made and all the ones I’ll need to make.
All this decision-making has led me to this conclusion: It’s hard to make choices, but it’s sure nice to have them.