Along with the entire world I sat listening to the words of President Elect Barack Obama with some amazement on Tuesday night. As I mentioned in my last post, I did not vote for him and there are many policy choices of his that I disagree with; however, I think it would be hard for even the most hardened cynic to not be impressed with the scope of Obama’s victory. He not only defied conventions as a black man running for president but he is the son of a single mother, from Hawaii. Somehow he pulled his way through Columbia and Harvard Law School and then instead of picking the career of a pricey Harvard lawyer he worked as a community organizer and then a state senator, a senator and now the president. It is an impressive journey. I pray that he will be a successful president and that his policies will help our country solve its many complex problems. We will see.
Thinking about Obama’s path to the white house has started me thinking about my path to where I’m at in life. I found out today that my best friend from high school Meredith Goodenough (now Tolley) has just had her 4th child! It’s amazing how at one point her and I were at the same point, on the same basic track. I remember having conversations with her about wanting to go to college, marriage, and then have children. She told me rather emphatically that she was not going to get married until her master’s degree was completed. On the other side, everyone assumed that with me going to BYU I would quickly get married and have babies. It’s interesting how life turns out. Here I am the one with the masters degree and she’s the one with a hard earned bachelor’s and 4 kids! When I think back to the last 10 years I don’t see a lot of missed opportunities where my life could have turned out differently but I am sure some existed. It’s like those old Choose Your Own Adventure books (do they still make those?). One choice and you are coronated as king and queen- another you fall down a volcano to a firery death! Hopefully none of my choices had such dire outcomes but it is interesting to contemplate. For instance, I wonder what my life would be like if I had given in to pressure and gotten into substance problems in high school. I have a feeling that my personality would have a hard time fighting such a problem- although I am very independent so you never know. I wonder if there was ever anybody in my peer group or in my wards that I could have dated or at least been friends with but I missed out on the opportunity? On the other hand, I am sure there are friends that I would not have met if I had taken other paths or not been as bold when meeting new people.
The truth is that while such thoughts are interesting they are not very productive. We are what we are and I believe what I am is pretty darn good. I love my current life and aside from not meeting Mr. Sunshine yet I do feel completely satisified with where I am at socially, mentally, spiritually. I know there is much need for improvement- particularly spiritually but I still feel a sense of contentment and peace with my life. I also believe that my Heavenly Father guides my choices and that if I listen to His promptings I will be where I need to be, when I need to be there, helping who I need to help. In truth, my life is not like the Choose Your Own Adventure because I have a guide telling me which choices will lead to the coronation and which end in the volcano. This guidance is real- even in the small things. For instance, the other day I was yearning for a bookclub. In desparation I decided to check craigslist to see if there were any advertised. To my luck, one was just starting, so I joined and have been to a couple sessions (even hosted one in my apartment!). It was a simple choice but already it has helped me make some good friends that I never would have met in any other way. There are so many other examples I could list of experiences I have had because I took a risk, made a daring choice or had the guts to meet someone new. I only hope that I will continue to be bold and make the kind of choices my Heavenly Father wants me to make. Then I can look back at life and not have any regrets. I look back on my mission and college with no regrets, and I hope I can do the same for my entire life- knowing I have made good choices and repented for the bad ones. This is what I want in life.
As the poet says:
is a privilege denied
Never leave behind regrets
Do any of you have thoughts on your path in life? How you got to where you are? Here’s a Dilbert I thought was funny concerning 2 different lifestyle choices! Enjoy!