It’s 7pm on a Thursday night. Right now, you could be watching a hilarious YouTube video. Or reading a book that makes you smarter. Or working on the side hustle you keep saying you’ll start. What about finally writing in that journal or cooking a healthy dinner?
The number of choices available to some of us is immense. So is the pressure to be an uber-productive yet somehow fun and relaxed human being. Having choices is a privilege, but being overwhelmed by them can mean that we don’t enjoy whatever it is we finally decide to do — we’re constantly worried about the road we didn’t take.
In his book, Dedicated, author Pete Davis makes the case for ‘choosing something and sticking with it’, whether it’s a TV show or a mate.
In our perpetual search for novelty and thrills, we forget the many gifts that come when you dive deep into a choice and never look back. Professionally, this can bring a sense of focus and mastery. In relationships, it can bring comfort and joy. In virtually any aspect of life, it can bring a strong sense of peace and contentment.
The quality of our life is determined less by the job we fell into, the flat we live in or the people around us than by how we choose to look at these things. No single mate or flat or career is perfect. Davis makes the point that “you associate with something because you like parts of it, but nobody likes all the parts of it.”
Realising this can be extremely liberating: it means that whatever path you’ve taken has as much good as you decide to find in it.
If after considering this, you’re still struggling to let go of that one opportunity you feel you missed, you may find comfort in Cheryl Strayed’s words:
“I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”