“Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a Samsung television with cinema sound. Choose a range cooker and integrated appliances, a Mazda CX-5 Sport, iPhones One through X and Sauvignon Blanc wine chillers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and a manageable Body Mass Index. Choose a tracker mortgage. Choose a timeshare. Choose a move to the capital and an affordable pied-a-terre. Choose a minimalist wardrobe in fifty shades of grey. Choose three different waistcoats in a range of fabrics. Choose listening to Radiohead on your meditation chair. Choose watching thought-provoking Netflix documentaries about Di-Methyl-Tryptamine. Choose Lego building days. Choose retiring from the rat race at the end of it all, enjoying your last years without listening to the demands of shareholders. Choose your future. Choose your friends. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? Actually, I do choose life. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got love…”
We are all, to some extent, subsumed and consumed by capitalism and consumerism, seemingly perma-fixed into the cyclical behaviours society deems necessary for us to function properly. Life it seems, continues to devolve on a daily basis as we move away from marvelling at the wonders of Life, the Universe and Everything to being preoccupied with treading a path of materialism and the possession of things.
There comes a time during most white collar careers (being it fleeting or perennial) when the daily slog around the corporate treadmill becomes too much to bear and the dream of quitting the “rat race” becomes a desired outcome, a desire in fact over everything else.
We define the concept of “rat race” as a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power in an endless, self-defeating and pointless pursuit. This exhausting, repetitive lifestyle leaves little quality time for enjoyment or spiritual fulfilment and ultimately leads to stress, anxiety and eyes fixed on the nearest exit sign (via any means of escape).
I’ve been there many, many times over the last twenty five years of employment. On several occasions, I have come to the conclusion that a life less hectic away from the corporate ziggurat and into a new career would bring the required level of happiness and satisfaction (whatever that level is), yet each time I have chosen to stay on the same path as I have to consider not only myself in each decision, but those around me who rely on my support.
As time goes by, responsibility diminishes and with that the realm of creative opportunity opens up so that alternative careers and lifestyles become achievable.
A retrospective look over the last two and a half decades has seen that things have worked out for the better each time a major life decision was to be made based on informed and sound choices and taking chances that bring about positive change.
From experience, there are two key questions that need answering before any major life decisions are made:
1. What realistic and alternative choices are there?
2. What are the chances that changes can bring about positive outcomes?
Those who believe in free will or self-determination will concede that there are seemingly infinite possibilities in life and the choices that we make (to paraphrase quantum physics parlance) collapse all other available pathways so that outcome of such decisions produces what we know as consensual reality (created without external influence).
Then there is chance and probability. If there are seemingly infinite possibilities in life, then there is a certain probability attached to each choice we make, which although subjective, determines whether the decisions we make will bring about a better (or worse) experience for us.
Change occurs only once we have committed to making a choice based on the best chance of likely positive outcome.
Ultimately, each and every choice we make is ours and ours alone to make as we act out those decisions both physically and meta-physically, but a significant amount of decisions are influenced by third parties. Family, friends, colleagues, organisations and legislation help and/or hinder those choices and our life-journey is shaped accordingly.
The choice to surround ourselves with those who have positive influence in our lives is also ours.
When I look back at my life thus far, I have removed those who exerted a negative influence (fear) on my choices and instead surrounded myself with positive people (love), and whilst certain decisions have brought about shock and horror to some, my life and the life of those I care for is richer and better for it.
Life is an adventure, a joyous adventure and if we do only get one crack at it (well one that we can remember) then we must always make the right choices and with chance on our side we can change ourselves, those within our immediate vicinity and eventually the wider world for the better.
Choose love and not fear…
Choose life and live it…