Choice & Consequence
The gift is embellished with all the makings of peace, promise and fulfilment. Unbeknownst to me, it harbours within its hollow centre some brutal attacks that will shake me to my core. And I guess that’s what makes Consequence the scariest evil twin in my life.
I pride myself with actively choosing to pursue the things that are most meaningful to me, even when it scares me, and especially when it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. I love to have many choices especially when it comes to what I do with my life. The world is my playground and I intend to explore as much of it as I can, however I choose to do it.
Of course, thinking like this gets me excited about life. So many possibilities - I could travel the world speaking about something, I could write a book that gets adapted into a movie. It all sounds so glamorous, and it looks glamorous in my head too! In my head, the Consequence of paving my own path and pursuing my dreams is all roses and no thorns. I mean, if there are thorns they’re only the ones that will sound cool in a memoir or biopic.
That’s why it always surprises me when the Trojan horse bursts open and thousands of unpleasant surprises attack me.
There is no way to fully prepare for the blows that Consequence carries. You see, blinded by the breath-taking exterior of the horse, I sometimes don’t see far enough to predict the assault. All of a sudden, I find myself battling things like loneliness and stress and being excruciatingly broke. A full-on war breaks out on me, and it becomes my job to try and manage it.
Perhaps life would be easier if, when the war was raging, choices stopped being presented to me. If there was a button to just pause while I do some damage control… but there’s no pause button. Choices must be made, and consequences must be faced.
Do you want to know what’s really scary for me? It’s the fact that this thing called Consequence - this Trojan horse - is inevitable. Whatever choice I make, it will be there, waiting for me. And even when I don’t make a choice, Consequence charges forth anyway.
I mean, there are times when life weighs down heavily on me. Pressure mounts from seemingly everywhere. Assignments pile up, work piles up and my own projects pile up. I’d be lying if I said I had figured out how to juggle it all flawlessly. I drop the ball more times than I can count. And when the pressure gets too much, it’s always hard for me to decide what to give my attention to.
Sure, there’s the logical way of going about it. Secure the bag, secure the grades then worry about the “passion” later. But the consequence of that, in my experience, has been months and months of no blog content, which comes with months and months of feeling unfulfilled and lifeless.
I know, I know. I shouldn’t even let things get to that point in the first place. And that’s where my answer lies. You see, the one thing that has worked in curbing the effects of Consequence has been this:
The word has its origins in the Latin word discere, which means “to learn”. Ultimately, each choice - no matter how mundane - is an opportunity to learn. I saw a meme a few years ago about how life was the only place where the test came before the lesson. The consequences of our choices, though uncomfortable and painful sometimes, are what make us wiser individuals in the long-run.
The first time the attacks burst forth from the Trojan horse, we are caught off-guard and it takes time to bounce back. But then we come to expect - even anticipate - the attacks. We know full well procrastination will only lead to panic when deadlines approach. And that chicken bacon bbq pizza with double extra cheese will show up on all the wrong places on our bodies. Because of the consequences we faced the first time around, we can make better choices and avoid unpleasant experiences after. That’s what discipline does. Discipline equals freedom.
And yet, it’s not as easy as it sounds, is it? It’s far easier to indulge, to eat the pizza even when I know I shouldn’t, to watch that movie even though I have assignments due tomorrow, or to buy that cool pair of headphones even though the ones I have work just fine. It’s my job, though, to discipline myself so I can freely enjoy these things at a much better time.
The only way to live harmoniously with this evil twin is to think carefully before I choose. Spontaneity and indulgence have their place in my life, but they should never be a habit. I have learnt that I need to control my impulses like I would those of a nine-year-old. I have to parent myself. And the more good choices I make on my behalf, the better and more manageable the consequences will be.
29 May 2020