The outcome of my choice, this time, was an even more inspirational run along a lakeshore path I have never taken before. While listening to Holocene on repeat, imagining myself as the child in the video, I felt like the map of my familiar territory had just been illuminated with new territory, and I was the explorer. A truly wonderful feeling. Interspersed in these thoughts, however, I thought a lot about my decision to turn right and about other decisions like these in our day to day lives. Choices like opting for an earlier flight simply for convenience, for example, seem insignificant at the time. However the choice becomes profound pretty quickly when you learn about a plane crash that evening which just happened to be the flight you were supposed to be on. Other split second choices, offer consequences that are not necessarily as profound, but are still memorable. Such as that moment you opt to take a walk on your lunch break "for a change" and you randomly encounter a group of people huddled around the back of a pickup truck, handing out free Dr. Peppers. Not a life altering experience, yes, but it adds a splash of colour to dullness of repetition. This leads me to discuss routine.
I remember reading once about routine, and its relationship to the notion of "time speeding up as we get older." The article claimed this phenomenon is not a result of aging, and time is not flawed. The problem, they explained, lies in the way we behave in time. As we get older, we steer towards routine and become more and more adhered to it. Although comfortable, however, routine has a way of leading us to desensitization. Things become so familiar that we render ourselves unconscious participants in our daily lives. This theory rings true, when we look back on typical day and feel like it has "flown by." Perhaps it is because we don't remember being a part of it. As such, the article recommended that to "slow down time" or "add some colour" we need to do one thing a day that is outside the routine. In many ways, I think this is a good suggestion. How about you? If you were asked to recall on the events of your day, what do you remember? Do you remember the drive to work? Or that moment after you became frustrated waiting in line waiting for your double tall vanilla soy latte, that you opted for that new coffee shop down the street to run into that friend you'd lost touch with.
In thinking further, the question that arises is where does this "colour" come from when we deviate from our routine. Is it extrinsic or intrinsic? Some would say "it's the universe, it's rewarding you" or "it's testing you." If you were to ask my brother, he'd probably say "You know, maybe it's fate... " The religious folks, would say, it's all in gods plan. And to others, these colours are merely a product of chaos, and the events that occur off the path have no greater implication or meaning than the ones that happen along the path. On the contrary, perhaps this "colour" comes from within. Perhaps the second we break from the mould we instantaneously awaken to simply see that which is always around us but we're just blinded from. Maybe the answer to this question depends on how you view the world, and where you lie on the spectrum of monochrome to full Technicolor. The answer is up to debate I guess.
Either way, it seems as though it is the little insignificant choices and minor interruptions, that make our lives richer, for better and for worse. And it is at this point, I'm reminded of advice I received in my youth from a nostalgic woman in her 80s. She said "You know, when I look back at my life, the choices that felt the biggest at the time, often ended up being the smallest choices. It was more the little choices that often ended up being the biggest ones." It's funny, but it's only in writing this article that I'm reminded of these words. And now that I reflect, I don't think she's that far from the truth (from my perspective that is). In many ways it seems like the big choices, often feeling debilitating at the time, have been relatively painless once the decision was made. And when I look at the little choices I've made, those have been the ones that have taken me to places I never anticipated. And, in many ways, it feels like it's that spontaneity of life, that unknown of "what the universe may hand you," that is the essence of life itself.
I conclude this article to say one thing: Turn right more often.