Each day we are presented with a series of choices. Some choices can be made with ease and relative certainty while others create chasms of personal and professional insecurities. Throughout the past year I’ve learned that life is less about the choices we make but rather how and why we declare each decision. I’ve learned that what we choose is contingent upon where we are mentally, emotionally, financially and socially at that given moment. Choices are determined by who we want to be and where we hope to end up as a direct result of those choices.
Similar to most ISH residents I am presently preparing for the next phase of my post graduate career. The choices appear limitless. My personal passions have persuaded me to pursue professional positions related to social justice, sustainable development, diversity, accessibility and inclusion. I believe I have the capacity to thrive in any of these categories. However, whether or not I am granted a position is not for me to choose. As applicants all we can do is properly prepare for new opportunities, perform well during interviews and learn how to balance both patience and persistence. Right?
Wrong! We can choose to see potential in places where no opportunity previously existed. We can choose to open ourselves up to unexplored options that were constrained from being fully considered due to fear, rejection and self-doubt. We can choose to seek out creative pathways when it seems as though the stress of life has completely stripped us of our sensibilities and ability to make substantive yet suitable selections about where we live, where we work, how much money we make, what we can do, who we spend time with etc.
The choices made daily can affect the trajectory of an entire lifetime. And yes, the pressure can be stifling and seemingly unbearable. Perhaps this is why I am constantly reminding myself to breathe and meditate during difficult moments that are marked by choices that I sometimes feel unequipped to handle. Then I realize that choices are a constant variable in life. There will always be another choice around the corner if I am unsatisfied with a choice that I can’t justify. I strive to remember that If a choice I’ve made can’t be changed then I can choose how I react to the circumstance and will hopefully choose to make different decisions in the future. Even making no choice is still a choice.
I recognize that various angles of privileged protrude throughout each paragraph of this post. I am privileged that my choices are not fraught with decisions concerning how I will feed my children, how I can migrate to a country where I am not penalized or persecuted for my sexuality or religion, where to run on the ground when bombs are falling from the sky, who to trust when those who lead live in luxury while my family is trapped in poverty or where I can go for treatment when the closest hospital is miles away and far too expensive for me to afford.
We all have choices. The choices I deal with on a daily basis are difficult but not impossible. They possess a power that can allow me to help others diversify their portfolio of progressive personal and professional choices. I now know that for me at the end of each day choosing to help bring positive change to the lives of others are the only choices that really matter.