chaos, n.: complete confusion and disorder; a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything
An adult makes about 35,000 conscious decisions each day, and the average human life expectancy (US) is 78.7 years. Because one decision invariably affects the next, there exists innumerable potential paths missed where only one can be taken.
The pressure of some decisions are feather-light compared to others: which cereal should I eat this morning? In which school should I enroll my children? Do I choose a risky treatment for the chance at a longer life?
No matter the situation, the constant in all decision-making is the desire for control. Even though we have the final say on choices make, we, unfortunately, cannot control the outcomes, and that is what scares us. With every ordered decision leaves a chance for chaos and the unknown.
Our fear of the unknown can be a burden or a blessing, cause anxiety or excitement, prevent us from doing what we want or push us to reach for the stars despite it all. In order to achieve the latter, one must occasionally give up that control, give in to the chaos, let in the unknown.
That is a scary sentiment, but one piece of advice that has always stuck with me is that I cannot worry about what I cannot change. A friend lost a sibling to cancer, and although it is natural to worry about them, I can focus on what I can change: visit, attend the service, contribute to a fund. There is a lot of power in redirecting that energy into productive action. This is where we can find that order from the chaos.
Many of us spend our time wondering of the roads not taken, but we miss out on the one we chose. Yes, at the end of the path, it will be the only one you will ever know, but when looking back, you’ll want to see that at every fork, you made a difference.
The day we stop effecting change and let fear control our actions is the day we stop living. Don’t let that day be today. This is the true meaning of living in the moment.