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During my junior year of college, I performed a dance solo based on the “Chance Method” created by Merce Cunningham. This choreographic technique involves elements of a dance piece, such as movements, sequences, or music, being determined by random procedures rather than intentional choreography. Every night before my performance, I had people draw three pieces of paper from a jar. The words on the papers influenced the timing, energy, and emotion of how I performed my solo. The show ran for three nights, and no two audiences ever saw the same performance. That dance has come to mind lately, especially with the theme of choice weighing on me.

Every choice we make in our lifetime leads to different pathways. Each decision shapes our reality. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the concept of choice and the impact and implications they have on the person I am today. Countless moments, like tiny pixels, fuse to form the picture of my life.

Each choice carries an array of emotions—joy, frustration, sadness, relief—often a blend of many.

Occasionally, I replay choices, wishing I could have taken the opposite path. Some choices opened unexpected doors and closed others I never imagined would shut. I carry certain decisions with a heavy heart, knowing they were right, especially when it came to my well-being. Taking action for oneself is difficult when conditioned to prioritize others. I once lived by the principle of putting others first, an unsustainable habit that backfired this year. I paused and thought, “I can continue doing what others say is best for me, or I can realistically consider what I need in the moment.”

The result?

I am here.

Every choice is connected to the genesis of a piece of my story I now cherish. Different connections, places, and experiences might not have occurred without my selected direction. What I’ve come to accept is that regret robs us of appreciation and much more. It steals our hope for the future, strips us of trust in our instincts, and makes us continuously question our capability to do what is right.

Hindsight is 20/20.

Reflecting on the past, we often shame ourselves for mistakes, yet nothing changes. Do I feel sad about how some situations turned out? Yes. Do I sometimes wish I could revisit situations with the growth I now possess? Absolutely. I am self-aware enough to recognize my shortcomings, and I can only apologize, take ownership, and accept the consequences, whether good or bad. At the time, I was doing the best I could with the level of development I had. There are choices I know caused irreversible damage, yet I appreciate those times for what they were before and release my grip on regret.

Just like many other moments in my life, I’ve made choices that, years later, I am still so thankful for—from the schools I chose to attend to major life moves and more. Every launched idea, failed project, gut reaction, and hesitation has paved the way for a life that is imperfectly divine. The world doesn’t see how my choices have created new opportunities for my life now. As I stop reserving a seat for regret, I’ve begun to make room for more. I am starting to appreciate the ebbs and flows of life. I think about those audiences who watched three different variations of my solo during the show. The choices made during each performance had it’s own qualities that produced impactful results.

So yes, maybe things won’t be the same. Maybe connections will be different. Perhaps we’ll have days when we sit and wonder what life would be like if we had made a different choice. Or maybe, we can trust that each choice is leading us exactly where we’re meant to be. We can never discover what would have happened on a different path. So why drain our spirits by dwelling on what-ifs? Let’s instead take a moment to look around and truly appreciate what has blossomed from the choices we’ve made.

Because the beauty is there.

We just have to be willing to see it.

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