Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…

The choices we make early in life determine our direction, or lack of.

Reconnecting with some very old (we’re talking 30-plus years ago) school acquaintances earlier this week, I am at once in awe of the network power of the internet, and also of how the choices we make early in life can lead us down an entirely different – and sometimes very unpleasant – pathway.

Some would say, “There but for the Grace of God go I,” and others might say, “I’m glad I got out of there while I still could!”

It reinforces once again that the choices we make early in life make a huge difference on what comes later.

Choices such as whether to apply onself to schoolwork or to skip school and spend time hanging out. Whether to adopt a dilligent work ethic or to go from one minimum wage paying job to the next. Whether to start a family early or do some travellling and perhaps take some time to mature.

Even the choice to eat well and exercise or to consume lots of fast foods.

Most teenagers don’t consider the options they have, so it’s up to the adults around them to point these things out. Unfortunately, many adults don’t equate where they are in life to the choices they’ve made in the past. Especially if they aren’t happy with their life. It’s almost always someone else’s fault.

It gets harder to change direction, the older we get. We take on responsibilities that we can’t shrug off and we get used to a certain lifestyle. An individual has an easier time changing direction than a transport truck does.

I read the occasional study that concludes that children raised in poverty will often consume a diet primarily of junkfood, suffer mental health issues, turn to a life of crime, etc. Having grown up in what we called then a low-middle class neighbourhood, I observed children growing up without loving parents often made poor choices early in life. Money had little to do with it.

So, if I were to pick out something that I had in life from Day One that not all of my friends did, it would be my two loving, hard-working parents. Even though they couldn’t make our choices for us, their love made all the difference in our decisions.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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