By Kelsey Brey
My life has been abuzz with talk of “choices.”
So and so either made or did not make a choice to end his life depending on whom to talk to, or what train of thought you best find yourself hopping aboard. A good friend of mine wrote about how he was told as a child that he could be anything. I imagine most of us were, even if not by our parents-we were indoctrinated with this message from the educational institutions we attended. “Choose to shoot for the stars and if you fail, you land among the moon” said the poster in my elementary school.
Choose to attend college, choose to have that fourth, fifth, sixth drink.
I wanted to write some well worded prose on what it means to be lied to by a society where the choices are already made for us, and choosing to not choose only alienates. Choosing to go against the grain isolates. But, now I’ve gotten to this point and that idea is losing its appeal for me.
I didn’t have a choice, not really. I functioned and survived in a chaotic environment. I didn’t choose to be placed there. Is it all predetermined, do we have a say? Is there such a thing as fate? I choose not to write about such things, for I don’t know those answers.
Today, I have some choices. Skim milk or 2%. I choose how far to run, and running is about exercising my right to choose. It’s freeing- nobody else is telling me to do it, nobody else is responsible for it.
I choose recovery, each and every day, and that’s not always an easy choice. We are confronted with thousands of choices. Pick up the phone or ignore the call. Watch another episode or start homework. Each choice lays a stone, and those stones form a path. We are all travelers moving towards something bigger than the smaller choices we make. These things are called goals, I suppose, but it’s bigger than that. Your decision to sleep another hour that day might have saved you from a car crash. The choice to stay in a marriage. Not all choices are stones, some are much bigger, some alter our paths forever.
I made choices in my youth, choices in my misguided moments that I must make peace with. We all have. Perhaps you went home with somebody you shouldn’t have. Why did we make such choices? Maybe you broke somebody’s heart? I choose to leave once, and the repercussions are real. You don’t fall out of love with someone the second you decide to abandon the relationship.
I choose each day to try and not get hung up in the choices. That’s also not easy. You see, we make so many, and I can’t escape the irony that is an entire aisle of shampoo. I don’t need all one hundred and fifty choices thrown in my face to end up with the final result of cleaner hair. Yet, like you, I stand in that aisle for what seems like forever and smell the bottles, read the labels. I fall victim to the ever-so effective marketing strategy that is choices.
I can’t proclaim that I’ve made the right choices, in shampoo or otherwise. I have no true advice worthy of your time. My only contribution in this jumble is to encourage others to choose life, choose happiness, and don’t forget to laugh at the idiosyncrasies of the abundance of choices we make each and every day.
Kelsey is a mental health clinician working in the greater Boston area. She enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her pug. She has dedicated much of her life to fighting stigma surrounding borderline personality disorder. She is currently in a doctoral program and hopes to one day specialize in providing successful treatment for those with this diagnosis.