They say that happiness is made up of moments. That collectively they make up how good is your quality of life. I don't know who are "they". I must have heard it at some point in my life and I believed it. I still do, it seems to make sense.
And similarly, I have always believed in a strange kind of destiny, fate type thing, in which somehow there are these confluent points in time and one's life if you have to go through regardless of what choices you make.
Well, when I say "always believed" that's perhaps a bit strong, I think more appropriately I want to believe that in the way people are religious, because it would bring a sort of structure and meaning and in a way take away responsibility for certain actions.
But in reality, the universe and life at large doesn't care. People care not the abstract in the world around us. There is no hidden meaning and or structure although it is comforting to think there is.
What there is are moments in your life where your choices matter more than most. The choice to have coffee this morning or cereal probably does not have great significance of bearing in my future, unless if for some reason that milk was off and would cause me to get sick, or the prolonged drinking of coffee is somehow harmful, which is unproven, and could not be found out until long in the future.
Other choices are however momentous. Some you realise straight away and others you don't. Today I'm not going to extrapolate and analyse those decisions that are seemingly innocuous and prove the opposite.
No, I just want to remember and give examples of some that I can recall in my life. If I can't recall them they can't have been that important right?
I think I'll list them chronologically rather than as in terms of importance.
Hmm, how far back could one go for decisions that were life-altering?
I suppose deciding to take French instead of English for my fifth year could have had a big impact, given that I was one of only three that did so from my class but that has never been neither a hindrance nor a benefit. Obviously this was my first major decision and the impact it had was in terms of the people I met versus the ones that I didn't. Luckily in that decision meant I met my best Friend to this day.
Another decision that was almost life altering was this random day in the lost Summer of 1992 or 1993, when despite not much feeling like it I went out to play hide and seek with my friends and step on a big rusty nail that penetrated the bone in my left foot, which infected and weeks down the line I luckily didn't lose it for a question of hours.
This was important because in the last day of my physiotherapy and almost full recovery there was a teacher's strike at school and you never which teachers would adhere to or not, so you the choice of going and finding out if that particular teacher was on strike or risk that it was and not bother going at all. I had that choice, for a class of English or French, or go play football. I went to play football. Within that decision there was another decision. I played in goal because a) I was never very good and b) I had just been very ill and almost lost my foot. But I wanted to really play and I pleaded with my friends to let me out of goal, they eventually relented and in due course because I wasn't very good mistackled this pretty strong guy, leg on leg, but because my bones were so brittle they simply cracked. I was in excruciating pain which not all believed and some thought was funny, we were kids, but it meant I was back at home and my leg in a cast. I did go back to school and with the help of the famous five who carried me up the stairs I somehow managed to not fail that year. I now wonder if some of those people and friends I played football with ever felt guilty, for laughing, for not believing, for letting me out of goal and for letting me skip that class.
A momentous decision I can recall was when in the height of my adolescence, can't remember exactly if I was 16 or 17, when I realised that I was different from others, I was clumsier, shyer, poorer, cleverer about some things and clueless in others, thought about things and the world differently, and I decided that ultimately and above all others I was stupider than most. So much so that I recall with some clarity the moment when I wrote this down in a piece of paper, and the moment I shown it to a couple of friends and their reaction. But it's not those moments that are momentous. What is momentous was my decision then, at that heightened state of despair and possibly hormonal adolescence although I would dispute I was ever much affected by it, the decision that no matter how bad things were or got or how unsuitable I was it was cowardly to commit suicide and therefore I would tough it out and just carry on, one day at a time. Never really told anyone at the time, or since come to think of it, that that had been a choice in my head.
Another decision I remember clearly was when my grandparents decided to sell their house to help my mother (and by default my dad and me) and my uncle to buy their own. My parents relationship was troubled for some years and getting on to 18 years I could see the world as a grown up and I didn't think a new house would solve anything and in fact I had this distinct feeling things could only get worse and this would prove to be a big mistake. Because of issues to do with my mother it was decided that the new house was to be in my name as an only son it was assumed I would benefit eventually anyway and in this way my future was assured. I remember so clearly laying down on the floor of the kitchen of what had been thus far my home, listening to Metallica's Orion, trying to decide whether I should something about it, but I was too immature and too young to be able to anything of consequence or so I thought, I considered running away and leave my parents to it, confronting my parents about what we were doing and about their dysfunctional relationship or go tell my grandparents about it and let them decide. In the end I decided to do nothing, but that could have changed everything to a lot of people involved.
Just realised the last two deciding moments were of deciding not to act. One might think and say as you see in the movies that inaction is bad, I think in the event those two cancel each other out.