Perjantai 22.3.2019
Älä muista nuoruuteni syntejä, älä pahoja tekojani! Sinä, joka olet uskollinen ja hyvä, älä unohda minua! Ps. 25:7

Blog: Making choices

in English 31.12.2018 06:27 | Päivämies-verkkolehti
There are surprisingly many situations in life where we must decide what thing to choose or which road to take. We often feel that the choices or roads available are either far too many or annoyingly few. We all make small choices every day and seldom even pause to consider them in detail.   
I sometimes find the more consequential choices stressful. What makes things even worse is that my thoughts are most active late in the evening, when I should calm down and sleep. In my nighttime ponderings I easily make a mountain out of a molehill. How on earth should I act? What should I do, which way should I go? Should I take it or leave it? If I do not act now, will I regret it later? Will I regret anyway?

Some time ago I thought of a solution to my recurrent spells of miserable dithering and indecision: I began to imagine how I would comment on my current life choices in old age. I would be sitting in a rocking chair, rocking quietly and peacefully, with marks of a long life on my body. The sun would be shining through the window, making a patch of light on the striped, multicolored rug of my life.

What would I think about a choice I am making right now if I were able to see it decades later? What advice would I give to myself for this situation?

We could apply this mind game to our lives even more widely. Would the elderly me tell the current me that I should continue to worry for years about a foolish remark that I happened to make? Would she tell me to use my time and energy in worrying about what other people think about me or my outward life? Would she encourage me to work hard even at the cost of neglecting my family and friends?

Make choices that make you happy, she might say. She might no longer remember all the places where she worked during her life, but she would remember the people. She would smile at chance meetings that took place decades ago. What is Instagram, she would ask first, but she would then have a dim recollection of an online service with a lot of photographs.

Would she think about material things? Money? School certificates and grades? Degrees and titles? Dust balls in the corners and sticky fingermarks on the kitchen cabinet doors in the spring of 2018. Would she remember she never got around to washing the windows in the previous spring of 2017, or that she failed to bake some of the traditional goodies for Christmas that year?

She would remember the birth of her children. She would remember the small hands that patted her cheek and the little body that confidently curled up on her lap. Shutting her eyes, she would see the small, round twinkling eyes very close. Would hear the laughter and the sleepy mumbling. Would remember the smell of the soft hair. She would be happy that, as a young mother, she chose to spend time with her children instead of working. She would remember the astonishment of the people who asked why she did not start working and earning money now that her youngest was turning three. She would know that the ”empty” years at home were the golden years in her life. Sitting there alone in her rocking chair, she would smile as she smiled to her children all those years ago.   

She would be happy about her spouse. She would remember how they both wanted to work for their mutual happiness, to love at both good and bad times. No, she would not have forgotten about the bad times, but she would remember that the two of them together managed to pass through all difficulties. She would remember with affection the period of couple therapy and especially their life after that. She would be happy about her choice to marry, although people had warned her not to marry so young. She would be happy that she did marry young.

She would probably be happy that she dared to live the kind of life she found good for herself. That she dared to write, though that exposed her innermost thoughts and feelings to other people. Dared to live a life that seemed good and true, to be what she actually was at all times. She would reminisce about her good friends and acquaintances. Would be happy about the people who had been genuine and sincere.  That was what she wanted to be herself, even at times when there was a painful separation from someone or a growing distance to an old friend. She would be happy that she did not allow herself to be treated badly.

Yes, right now I am making choices that I may end up considering and pondering when I am old.

In my dream-like vision, the elderly me is rocking quietly and looking back at her past. She understands that although she has made her choices, all of them have ultimately been part of God’s big plan. Slowly, she turns toward the future. Her past life begins to fade away, getting dimmer and more distant.  

What might I be thinking when I am close to the end of my earthly life? Maybe that eternal joy is very near.
Text: Reija Kaarlejärvi
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen

You will find the original Finnish blog post here.

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