The long-range impact of choices

posted by Jeff | Sunday, October 11, 2009, 8:46 PM | comments: 1

We were watching Fringe yesterday, where Olivia finally remembers her interaction with Mr. Spock, I mean, William Bell. She's in an alternate universe, inside the World Trade Center. He mentions that the buildings are still standing because of a number of different choices made. (Side note: We found a bunch of match boxes from Windows On The World at Diana's house today, which is a weird coincidence. She worked in the south tower for a few weeks when she lived in NYC.)

I got to thinking about that notion of where our choices take us while getting dressed this morning. I told Diana that it's strange how the slightest little thing could cause our life to be radically different. For example, why did I end up going to college and my brother became a heroin addict? When I think about my reason for going to college, it was somewhat rooted in my desire to live out these broadcast fantasies I had. Sure there was the junior high DJ fantasy, but there was also an optional ninth grade field trip in my Cleveland high school that landed us at Kent State, where we toured their TV station. I eventually visited Ashland as well and I was sold on doing that for a living.

If I didn't have that chance to see Kent, would I have taken a radically different path? Would I have endeavored to work for the city's cable TV operation?

On the surface, one might conclude that these decisions and events create a make-or-break situation, but ultimately, we still have options later on. I believe we still have to fail at a lot of things, or have the balls to simply change and do other things. My only real radical life changes have been the decision to leave the broadcast stuff for the Internet, and agreeing to get a divorce and then marry again. Most of my actions are more like inaction, or maintaining the status quo.

So there's some truth to the idea that decisions can have radical impact on your life, but I doubt very many of them could be considered permanent. I'm moving to Seattle now, and that may be my most radical change to date, but I think just making that decision illustrates how empowered you are to alter your course.

Is it obvious that I've been in a rather reflective mood lately? Get used to it... I suspect it'll be that way until my zip code starts with 98...


Pablo Escobar, October 12, 2009, 7:17 PM #

Isn't there a movie about this called, "It's a Wonderful Life"?

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