Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Choices

We are lucky in this emancipated Western World in that the lives of most people are governed by personal choices. I suppose the only two experiences which we all share are those of being born and dying. Other than that, to a large extent, our lives are governed by the choices we make. I am often struck by this thought when considering my choice to move to this area from a Midlands city. If I had not done so then the farmer's and my paths would never have crossed.
Where would I be now, and what would I be doing?
In my "Favourite Words" book (see one of my blogs last week for details) there is a poem which says it all so much better than I can.

The Signpost

Cagob, it said, 2
miles. But I never went
there; left it like an ornament
on the mind's shelf, covered

with the dust of
its summers; a place on a diet
of echoes of stopped
bells and childrens'

voices; white the architecture
of its clouds, stationary
its sunlight. It was best
so. I need a museum

for storing the dream's
brittler particles in. Time
is a main road, eternity
the turning that we don't take.

The poem, by RS Thomas, is published in Frequencies (Macmillan) - a slim volume but full of
words of wisdom. How has your life been influenced by the choices you have made? It is worth a few moments contemplation.

30 comments:

Totalfeckineejit said...

It is ,Weaver, one of life's many mysteries, who we might have been if at one , or even several, vital or random points in our lives we had gone left instead of right?For the person we are is not an inherent thing but shaped by the home we live in and the people we live amongst.In 'The legend of 1900'a piano player born and raised on a ship, can never leave it,because the world is so big ,so many countries, cities, towns , villages, streets- how would he know the right one , how could he possibly choose?

Leilani Lee said...

Whew.... so many bad choices, but I am very glad that I do not have the chance to go back and undo some of the bad decisions. I rather like the person I am now (most of the time anyway) and I wonder if I would still like her if I weren't the same because I'd lived my life differently... well duuh.... probably I would. Never mind...

steven said...

hello weaver, it's an astonishing thing to think that in fact, every moment is a decision. it's the big ones that stand out though especially when you can see so clearly the alternatives. biggies such as, do i live here or here? do i get married or not? if there are bad choices you can look back on then i guess it's important to look at why you made them. if there are good choices you made then you can look at why you made them. the bottom line is if you like who you are. doing the best you can bringing as much goodness as you can into the world then it's all good!!! steven

Heather said...

Life is full of 'what ifs'. When I was 17 I wanted to join the WAAFS but my mother was against it, so I got a job in a bank instead and subsequently met my husband. If I had had my own way, my life would have been totally different. It was obviously not a burning ambition - I could have put my foot down - and I have had a very happy life and have no regrets.

Derrick said...

Where to begin, Weaver?! I can only imagine the person I might have been if I had not trodden the path I have. And did I make the choices or were they already made for me? That's the question!

Dominic Rivron said...

Choice. It's one of the things that may be partly responsible for our epidemic of poor mental health. On one level we are bombarded with choices, on another, our choices are limited by our means. In our society we are invited to aspire to things that will lie beyond some people, leaving many people either without, struggling to maintain a lifestyle they think they ought to have, or just plain confused, wondering what they should do with their lives.

I'm reminded of Mark Steele, a commentator I tend to respect, and his comments on Westerners and mid life crises (which are in a way often about the choices we make):
"I've always been suspicious of the lifestyle crisis. One of my first jokes when I began as a stand-up comic was about how a "mid-life crisis" was only possible if you were comfortable enough to afford one, because you couldn't imagine a peasant in Vietnam traipsing through a paddy field with a wooden plough and telling his mate, "Do you know, Li Wong, I just don't know WHERE my life is heading these days."

Another funny thing about choice is the way that when given choice, people follow the herd: we tend to want the same things as everyone else.

Michael said...

Oh my.....what a powerful poem Weaver, it almost makes me feel that we are bound to make the wrong decisions. I still wake up wondering what I'm going to be when I grow up, (Denis Norden...lol).
The black lab is Bodie, he is 3 and belongs to my youngest son. If I am very, very good I get to dog sit him at my place...lol. He is just wonderful, if still a little adolescent! Stay well and thank you for your blog comment.

Bdogs said...

I'm curious as to what caused you to leave that Midlands city. It is usually the country girl that goes to the city, not the reverse. Would you feel like sharing that sometime?

jeannette stgermain said...

Sometimes we can't foresee if we make a good or bad choice. This week we just saw a movie (with Tom Cruise) of the coup against Hitler from his own men (9 months before he rook his own life), and how they were all shot to death. For their own families it was a horrid thing, but it left a legacy for the Germany to come that there were other men than H. in their country.

gleaner said...

I have read recent research on the problems with too much choice in affluent societies which results often in reduced choice and indecision. Hmm, and alot of wasted time trying to 'decide or make a choice' between an over-abundant number of alternatives. Like going to the supermarket and deciding something simple like what milk or bread to buy.... last time I counted there were 12 different types of milk for sale :(

Cathy said...

I don't know how often I used to think if I could do this over or if I could go back. I don't want to go back as tempting as it is. I would not have the blessings that I have now and the growth I experienced with dealing with cancer. I have some much to be thankful for. I am glad I took the road I did as Frost said "and it has made all the difference".

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Life is a winding path with countless intersections. We can make ourselves crazy hashing over "what if?" and "if only!" and the truth is we all could have made better choices sometimes…and worse ones just as often.

We make our choice and make the best of our decisions.

Personally, I live by the Yogi Berra philosophy: "When you come to a fork in the road…take it!"

Cloudia said...

Where to begin!?
I am a self made woman;
as are
you
;-)
Aloha from Waikiki
(where I chose to move: 6,000 miles away)

Hildred and Charles said...

Oh, choices - one Easter Sunday I chose to go on a cooking hike with a girlfriend. We met an airman, and it changed my whole life.

I have never regretted it, but there have been other choices I have made that have brought disappointment and grief, and what can you do but accept them, learn from them, and go on....

Some choices I think we make intuitively.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I have for a long time gone by the saying 'Know thyself', and make choices based on following my values with integrity. I also choose to believe that things can turn out well! 'Stick your neck out for your dreams!'

The Weaver of Grass said...

Don't know that legend tfe - but once a choice is made then we have to stick with it - I do know that.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Leilani Lee - I think we have all made what seemed to be bad choices but in the end they helped to shape us.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Steven - I absolutely agree with what you say - and if we think a choice is a bad one, it is quite possible that in retrospect it will be a good one.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Heather - just think you might have been a pilot by now! Yes, I suppose your mum did you a favour looking back on it, but I don't suppose you thought so at the time.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Derrick - a very big question indeed - depends upon one's beliefs.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Dom - I agree with what you are saying - although this rule does not necessarily apply to things like friendships, marriage, children etc.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Michael - I though labradors never grew up but stayed like Topsy for ever.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jeannette - interesting point you make.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Gleaner - that is interesting - I once read research on people going into public loos and deciding which cublicle to go in. Some took ages to make a choice and hardly anyone went into the nearest one. We are funny creatures aren't we?

The Weaver of Grass said...

Cathy - all that we can ask for in life is to be comfortable with ourselves - and you seem to have achieved that both in spite of and because of choices you made.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Scribe - love that Yogi Bear quote - I shall put it into practice from now on.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Cloudia - amen to that.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hildred - that airman was one lucky choice - as to others, as you say, we have to learn from them and carry on.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Raph - seems to me that even if your dreams are in the clouds, your neck will almost reach them.

gleaner said...

Weaver I too read that research on public loos, with the effect that everytime I go to a public loo I ask myself "which cubicle was it that people avoid because this will surely be the cleaner one"..naturally I couldn't remember the results but now you remind me I will go to the first cubicle!! We are indeed funny creatures.