T.O.T.Week: choices

I hold choice in high esteem. My high school yearbook quote is a Dumbledore classic, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” It’s pretty wild to me that humans make thousands of little choices each day that lead to the sum total of who we become. Sure, some may seem infinitesimal, but what if my undergraduate advisor had never said, “Hey, have you thought about Harvard for grad school?” I literally sit here in my Boston apartment because of that eight minute conversation. Some of my favorite television episodes are the ones where the show-runners decide to run back their decisions on what life would have been like had Meredith Grey not grown up dark and twisty, or if Monica Gellar hadn’t cut off Chandler’s toe. They’re enjoyable in their fantasy, but teeter on the edge of reality so that it feels very impactful.

Teetering seems appropriate for how I’ve been feeling this week. It was a strange week, one that felt slightly off kilter and a bit out of body. I teetered a line of some choices that I am not typically prone to making. Some have been assertive, necessary choices that made me proud to use my voice. Some felt a bit like a cry for attention. I want to assure all of you (mostly my parents who will read this and get nervous), that none of these were particularly earth shattering or radical, but they did find me pondering.

I do take comfort in that choices are mine. Yes, mine. Some are made through pure gut instinct and some are accompanied by so… many… doubts. Here are some of mine: Can I live with this choice? Have I made the right one? Can I redeem the wrong choice? Was it really a wrong choice if I can learn from it? What are the stakes in my choice? Will this choice make me stronger? Is this choice just plain bad? Have I found the good in my choice? Is the right choice a good choice, or does it just follow the prescriptive ‘right?’ Am I making this choice for me?

I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it there for now. This week’s post might not wrap nicely with a bow, but these four stories don’t either. Their choices inspire, haunt, and lift them up (often simultaneously). I am going to choose to appreciate that.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (picture book)

Restart by Gordon Korman (middle grade novel)

A Separate Peace by John Knowles (YA classic)

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (adult book)

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