Decisions. We make hundreds, if not thousands every day. What socks to wear. What to eat. Do I take a break or keep working on this problem for five more minutes, in the hope that I’ll finally figure it out, even though that means I’ll get home fifteen minutes later. Most of these decisions don’t have a lasting impact. They’re fleeting, the immediate results lost in the noise of the next.
Sometimes, these everyday decisions can have a more palpable effect—even be life-changing—without our knowledge. If we turn left instead of right, we might miss the traffic jam that would delay us for hours, or even the accident that would end our life. Eating the sandwich instead of the salad may mean the difference between a satisfying meal and forty-eight hours of food poisoning. In hindsight we can see how these decisions leave their mark, but we rarely see their significance in the moment.
Still other decisions are what we know are the big ones. The ones we know will have a lasting effect, due to the stakes involved. We agonize over them, plan for them, dread them, anticipate them, try not to get out of making them. The moment of these decisions can be filled with terror, joy, awe, and wonder, often all at once. But we go into them with our eyes wide open. When you’re a child, that moment at the top of the slide: go for it or turn back down the ladder? Standing at the door of the plane, ready to make your first skydive: jump and feel the rush or turn back and feel safe? The most beautiful woman in the world is standing there at the end of the aisle, about to walk into your life for eternity: “I do” or “I don’t think I can do this”?
Ten years ago today I made one of the most terrifying, wonderful decisions I will ever make: I married my best friend and began the best part of my life. Everything before that day was leading up to that moment, and everything since and to the end spins out from it. Happy tenth anniversary, Angie. Thanks for choosing me, too.