Choices

Daily Meditation #175–8/16/2022

“AGGHHHH! The one slice of pizza too many I ate 20 years ago! It’s here for revenge!”

“I just had 5 bypasses,” he exclaimed. His voice had a tinge of disbelief in it, almost as if saying it out loud he was having a little “Holy shit” moment of his own.

As I sat in the waiting room at the dealership, I couldn’t help listening and observing the 10 or so various bodies bustling around.

Customers coming in and out.
The secretaries taking calls.
The mechanics, greased and in their zones.

The man wasn’t that old.
Maybe 70, 75.
For his height, he held a bit of weight.

“Oh my God,” replied the one secretary, a bit more surprised than the man. He assured her that, yes — it was 5 bypasses.

They bantered about the surgery, his recovery, and how things had changed…

“Lucas, do you want a donut?” the other secretary asked me kindly.

I passed — I had actually enjoyed a lovely Bavarian the day prior!

Finally, the box came before the man with the recent bypasses…

“No thanks,” he said assertively, “I can’t eat that no more. I’ve got to change my habits.”
— — —

What a remarkable attitude.

Change. It is so terrifying to many of us.

“No!” you’re saying, “Not me! I’m open minded to change…”

And yet, people will stand in a line 5 people deep at Walmart, vehemently refusing to use the 8+ self-checkouts with no wait, grumbling and cussing about how they “Support employment.”

Change is inevitable.

This man — albeit nearly too late and only with a second chance — was willing to change his life to live longer.

To walk more each day.
To eat more vegetables.
To refuse delicious sweets.

As we just discussed, yesterday, we all think we have “plenty of time” every day and every moment we make a poor decision, but then…all of a sudden, we are entirely out of time.

“I can quit any time I want!” you say between draws on your cigarette.
Can you really?

“I can put the bottle down any time!” you tell the world between swigs of bourbon.
Can you really?

“I’ve got plenty of time left. Life’s short!” you smugly exclaim, finishing an entire bag of chips.
Do you really?

Life is short. That is true.
We are faced with millions of decisions every day, and how we choose on each one (or don’t choose) will change the course of the rest of our lives, whether we know it or not.

You don’t need to make the right choice every single time — and many times, you’ll not know what is right until it’s too late.
But in the cases you do know right from wrong, endeavor to choose the right thing more often than not.

When you feel something around your decisions — a little tinge here, a small ounce of shame there — that is your conscious telling you that you know you’ve done wrong.

Heed it. Heed it well.
Apologize to it when you failed to listen.

After all — what if that man had eaten just a bit less bacon? Walked just a bit more every day? Maybe managed stress just a bit better? Went to the gym just a little each week?
…And had done that for decades. Maybe the bypass would’ve never happened.

But, like yesterday: Small failures made one thousand times can be deadly.

What little things are you making the wrong choices on, today, that you can start to do better on?

Follow for daily philosophical meditations.

These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”

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Lucas A. Davidson

Born and raised a Yooper, I write daily philosophical meditations on Eudaimonia. These are distillations from my book on the topic!