Lately I've been thinking a lot about the choices we make in life. Life is full of choices. What seems like a bad choice can lead to good. And what seems like a good choice can lead to bad. How do we know the difference? How can we judge people based on their choices when we don't know what they're going through or why they made that choice? How do we know what seems like a horrible decision isn't actually the best decision they could make? Who's to say you wouldn't make the same exact choice if you were in their shoes?

I grew up believing that life hands you a few Major Choices that will change the course of your life. Choices like whether or not to go to college, which college to go to, what career path to take, who you marry, whether or not/when to have kids, where to settle and put down roots. I also fully believed that you should make these Major Choices based on how much happiness they will bring you. Which, in part, is true. But this takes me back to the fact that your choice might seem like the best way to make you happy right now, but then later on you might realize it was the worst possible choice you could have made, and vice versa. In the moment, there's no possible way to know if you're doing the right thing or choosing the right path. Which leads me to my new modified belief...

The major choices you make in life do not directly correlate to your happiness. The only choice that directly correlates to your happiness is choosing whether or not to be happy. Happiness is a choice all in itself. Now I'm putting aside the extreme cases, like the fact that someone might have an actual chemical imbalance that causes depression, or someone who is in a physically harmful situation...for the average person, happiness is a choice. Period. Even when you're going through your darkest hour, you don't have to give up everything and quit. Find joy in the little things that aren't affected by the darkness.

One choice that I have made that a lot of people don't consider one of the Major Choices, is to not treat friendships lightly. I've seen other people go through friends like some women go through purses. They love them at first and go everywhere with them, but after a while they get bored and toss them aside for a new friend. At some point I made a conscious decision not to do that, despite those hurdles that every friendship goes through:

I chose to stick by a friend when they chose to enter into a damaging relationship that I didn't understand, and it made us stronger than ever.

I chose a friendship with someone after I'd been led to believe that they weren't a good person...by someone who really wasn't a good person...and we became closer than I had ever been with the not-so-good person. :-)

I chose not to let something that hurt my feelings damage a friendship that I truly valued and I still can't imagine a life without that friendship.

I chose to pursue a friendship with someone who was quiet and a little shy, but was rewarded when they turned out to be one of the most fun people I know.

I chose to have a relationship with someone who doesn't share all of the same beliefs I have, and in return that relationship has opened me up to a love beyond my wildest dreams.

This blog isn't about religion or relying on God to see you through things. It's about the little choices you make every day that shape your life and your happiness.

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