She was out in the wilderness, 8 days into her 3 month long hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, when she thought about giving up and turning back around. She had just encountered a bear and was no longer sure about this once great idea anymore. Then she thought, I’ve got two choices; turn around and go backward OR keep moving forward. So she picked up one foot first, and then another, and then another, and then another, and………..she decided to keep moving forward.
I am reading, “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed which is where I took this idea from and what a great story so far it is. It’s kind of coincidental actually (if you believe in that). I went backpacking for my first time a couple weeks ago and then found “Wild,” which is about a woman going backpacking for her first time and how it changed her life, how it healed her.
The part of the story about turning back or going forward got me thinking about choices. Choices in general. When you are out in the woods with only a backpack and everything in that pack, your choices are pretty simple. Your choices are pretty easy. Life seems to be much clearer with fewer choices. It’s when we get back to society and the real world that we are bombarded with CHOICES. It is like everyone is pulling at us in every which way and direction; all wanting us to pick them as our choice. “Pick this color, pick this job, pick this school, pick this food, pick this shirt, pick this hospital, pick this, pick this, PICK THIS!!!!!,” they all say. Wait, they all SCREAM.
The simplicity of life is so sweet. And, I literally mean sweet; pleasing and delightful, as one definition puts it. We allow everything around us to complicate it. We allow everything around us to pile on more choices and more choices for us to feel like we have to choose from. Choices are shiny and pretty; the more the merrier……right?
I remember when I was planning my wedding how overwhelmed I would get with ALL the choices. Which flowers, which venue, which dress, what hair style, what party favors, what church, what honeymoon, what house, what invitation, what food, bridal shower, what, what WHAT!?!?? I had freak out moments A LOT. Moments when I didn’t care anymore what the wedding turned out to be like. Thank God my mom saved the day and took over; otherwise it would have been a pretty plain wedding with no food. But really when I think back, all that I wanted on that day was to marry my future husband. That was it. Yet, for me, it was the most stressful time and day of my life. I know most people say their wedding day was the happiest day of their life but for me, it just wasn’t. My husband knows this. I wish I could say it was and I wish I could say I truly enjoyed that day but for me, it was filled with stress and worries and anxiety and all those fricken choices I had to make or not make to make that one day look beautiful…..for everyone else. Because really, in the beginning I didn’t care about everyone else on that day, yet on that day, caring about everyone else is what it came down to.
My point is, with fewer choices, life is so much sweeter. Getting back to the basics, “What do YOU want?” If you know what you want, go get what you want. Don’t go looking at the other choices out there…..unless you are not sure what you want. Why complicate it?
Remember, what you want WILL be different from what others want. And, that is okay. What is even more okay is even if what you want is against the majority of what everyone else wants.
Ahhh, with fewer choices…..life is so sweet.
Love & Blessings,
“Good writing succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head.” ~Malcolm Gladwell