I think about event strings quite often and how they affect our lives. I see life as one big “choose your adventure” book; in other words, the significant decisions I face have their own unique outcomes. I don’t believe that we have one set thing that we are predestined to do; instead, there are countless possibilities that depend on previous decisions and many elements of our lives, such as careers, relationships, etc., exist because of these past decisions.
Think about it for a second. If you have a significant other, where did you meet? What decisions did you make that led to that meeting? What else has grown out of that meeting? I think that we like to believe that eventually, we’d end up where we are now, but in reality, so many little things, both within and outside of your control, had to line up to make today what it is.
When I think of this, I think of the scene in the Jurassic Park movie when Ellie and Ian are sitting in the car and he is trying to explain Chaos Theory. He takes a drop of water and shows how it rolls down her hand in different ways each time a new drop is added. We expect certain actions to have specific results, but since everything is connected, there is no way to fully predict what will come next. The water drop changed its path because of everything that was influencing it, from the movement of the car to the path left by previous water drops.
Life is a lot like the drop of water; between birth and death, we are influenced by so many factors that there is no way to tell what is going to happen in between. It’s only after that we can see what led to each milestone on the journey. I find it really interesting to trace my life and see what led to what.
One of the book series I read over the holidays was based on fairytales. There was a large crisis and the protagonists went to the council of mirrors (based on the magic mirror in Snow White) to find ways to solve the crisis. The mirrors told the characters the catalyst that would lead to their desired outcome. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a council of mirrors in the closet to help us get to the outcome we want? How great would it be to know the starting point? What would that prevent?
Sometimes though, even if we can see the potential disasters, we still do the wrong thing. Years ago, I made a bad decision. I knew it was a bad decision and yet I did it anyway. I didn’t break any laws or wind up in jail and it had very little effect on anyone else; in fact, only a few people know anything about it, but I am still seeing the effects. I once said that, if given the ability to go back and change the past, I wouldn’t change anything about my life because then everything from then on would be different. In this case, it might be worth the risk; however, I still haven’t mastered time travel, so I have to learn to live within the rules of nature and accept that what will be will be.
While the effects of what happened were and continue to be mostly bad, I did at least learn a few important lessons. The most important is that I learned to listen to my gut. I will probably not make the same mistake again, or at least I hope I won’t because I know what the outcome will be. See, we all do have our own little “council of mirrors”. It’s not in a closet though, it’s in our head. While this council can’t tell us the end result, it can help us see how things are connected and what might happen. The knowledge of this council isn’t infinite; it is fed by circumstances in our life. It’s the things that we do and see that should guide our decisions. If we take advantage of the things we learn, life would be easier to navigate. Let us all use the wisdom from both our successes and failures to give us our best chances at a happy future.