In Tess Gallagher’s poem “Choices,” the speaker is faced with what on the surface appears to be a simple choice to cut backyard saplings in order to clear a view of snow-covered mountains. The choice seems simple enough. However, she then discovers a nest, saw in hand in anticipation of cutting the branches, and a seemingly simple choice becomes more complex. Cutting the branch at that moment becomes more than just destroying what is, but also what could be. This is illustrative of the times in our lives each and every day when seemingly simple decisions, upon further inspection, turn into choices that determine our destiny and can change the direction of our lives.
In these moments, it is easy to become paralyzed and overanalyze the options while scratching our heads with indecision. Many times we choose to play it safe—by not acting at all—and try to walk the line between chosen options or doing nothing. The result is that we end up nowhere finite and just existing. The reality of not choosing means we actually decide to do nothing. In that moment of inaction and indecision, we remove the possibility of other choices and alter the trajectory of our lives in an irreparable way.
I appeal and encourage you to do something great with your life, to take one simple action and make one small choice that gets you in the game by using the talents, gifts, and abilities you have. Remember that not every decision has to be a binary one that moves mountains. Choices and decisions add up, and no matter how seemingly small some are, all of them carry their weight and add up to what we become. Our decisions define us, even those we choose not to make, and they determine our destiny in this life.
What decision do you need to make today that will take you to the next phase of your life? How will you respond?
Read: Choices, by Tess Gallagher