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Volume 1 Issue 1 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Our Choices
by David Reber

So where to start? This literally is the thousand-dollar question. Do you realize your entire life; who, where, and what you are in this lifetime is because of the decisions you've made along the way? But let's take a look at it from a different perspective, and say you are not just who you are because of the decisions you made, but the openings you chose to step through during your trip through sentience. Do you realize openings don't just occur - often there are countless numbers of them around you at every moment of every day?

There are so many different kinds of openings in a life. First and foremost is the 'created opening'. This is the one where you, I, or anyone else set sights upon a particular result, a particular opportunity, and then create all of the events leading up to the chance to take the first step through one opening.

Here I would like to share with you the example of my father. He grew up relatively sheltered deep in the Midwest on a farm, which has been in our family since the mid-eighteen-hundreds. He was the consummate restless youth, no doubt straining against the chains of living and working the family farm, being part of a community where his family name dictated who he was before he even decided for himself.

I do feel for him here, because I grew up in the same community. It was odd where every move I made reflected directly back upon a long line of people I'd not only never met, but who were already enjoying their Great Reward. And speaking from experience, it's very hard getting caught trying to tip a cow with an ancient farmer holding a shotgun at your belly and referring to you by your great grandfather's name only because of the family resemblance. (Also, I suspect, because my great grandfather was probably caught on that same farm eighty years before, doing exactly the same thing!)

Anyway, like I said, my father was born into a community who already decided who he was before he could even talk. So, my dear old Pop took one of the best options open to young men of the time to get away and forge his own identity. He created and then jumped with both feet through an opening which was all too available for adolescent men at that time in our country. He joined the service. I really enjoy those rare times when I can create an opening where the atmosphere is light enough to let loose with a few stories from those times. Ironically the "opening" is sometimes at the top of a bottle, beside a fire. Don't worry, the feet are always up, too.

But, because my Dad took the opening, (which at the time was a quick way into immediate anonymity); he got to spend his nineteenth birthday in the Taj Majal. He also got to drink on the docks with his buddies in Okinawa, and then ski behind a naval patrol boat like the one Kennedy piloted in WWII. We don't talk about that one often. Just often enough to find out that my stuffy old man was a good enough skier behind military craft to not only go barefoot, but start by jumping off the dock when someone yelled "CATCH!" and threw a rope at him. Of course in his rendition of those stories, he always pulled all of it off without ever spilling a drop of his beer. Truly I am humbled.

So now we come to the next type of opening, the one where we all roll our eyes and look at the ceiling, and the one where we all go "Oh wow!" This is the unexpected opportunity. This opening, while no less profound, was always the one we never saw coming. While I am sure my dad decided a stint in the military was for him, I doubt he expected to ever see something so incredible as the Taj Majal. I also doubt very much he expected to reach the behind-the-scenes status of expert, (yet rogue), skier. But when it comes to the unexpected life openings, I think my mother's case applies better.

My mother is a true daughter of the south. When she wishes, she can bat her eyes and make her accent sound like warm syrup dripping. Don't be fooled though. Behind the ready and infectious smile and innocently persuasive manner lives a mind without equal! She is the one I couldn't live up to. Dear old mom has two Bachelor's degrees and a Master's. Way back into dim history, she was valedictorian every time. In every professional setting she was ever in, she left profound footprints. When she focused her amazing intellect upon a task, you might as well consider it not just done, but also, done well.

With this in mind comes quite a bit of irony. My mother, one time in her very studious life, took a day off. One time, on a whim, goaded by less serious friends, she decided to be naughty, and skipped a day of school. Herein lies the unexpected opening. The one time she listened to her "hussy friends," drove right by school, and headed straight to the beach. My mom took one day off. Harmless enough, right? So, here she was, lying on the sand, enjoying the tan another day under fluorescent lighting would not have given her, when a couple of guys walked by. And I guess one was so cute with "great little buns, oh man!" You guessed it, my mom picked up one of the young service men stationed at the beach.

Two years of correspondence across seas, then probably another year of courtship with all-night drives from the Bible belt to the deep south, and finally, two years of marriage later… they created the most profound opening in my life, they created me. When my pop planned to get away from his small little community and travel the world in the military, I guarantee, he did not expect me.

So be aware, every moment of every day has uncounted openings for you. The real drag comes from the fact, whether or not you worked toward and created them yourself, you are probably only aware of a few of the chances and openings, around you. You may have worked very hard, you may have even created one particular opening to take advantage of exclusively; but good luck if you try to foresee every opening along the way, (not to mention where each will take you). Just understand you will probably, years later, take a look back and shake your head.

In the meantime though, enjoy the magic carpet ride, and keep your eyes open wide. Every opportunity is an opening!



Hello, my name is David Reber and I currently reside in Northern Indiana.  Aside from my day job of working with children, I enjoy the seclusion of my little white home in the woods.  There I am afforded the quiet comfort to pursue a bit of archery and fishing along with the occasional hack attempt at writing.

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