Choices. Sometimes they are easy and evident; sometimes it seems there are too many paths to take.
I was talking with Dr. Joann Marusak, chiropractor at Minooka Family Chiropractic Center, about her family’s upcoming vacation. They couldn’t decide whether they had time to pull something together, and if so, what would they do.
Since I have lived and traveled in both Michigan and Wisconsin, she picked my brain about things to see and do if they drove the circle to Michigan’s upper peninsula and down through Wisconsin.
I gave her tons of ideas for places to stop – in Michigan there’s Saugatuck, Holland, Petoskey, Traverse City, Mackinaw Island, Iron Mountain in the UP. In Wisconsin, there’s Just as many fun places through the Green Bay area.
Too many choices? They finally opted for a favorite beach vacation at Hilton Head in South Carolina. The Michigan tour would be another trip.
Life is full of everyday choices. What will we watch on TV? What will we allow our children to watch and how much? The same for electronics.
What food choices will we make? How do we get our children to make good food choices when they aren’t under our watchful eye?
Although my two sons are grown and no longer live at home, they had many life choices to make after graduating Minooka Community High School.
Our youngest, Steve, couldn’t stand to sit still during any class in high school. He’s a hands-on kind of guy. After a short stint at Joliet Junior College, he opted to go to mechanic’s school.
After all, he’d been fixing and changing engines on cars since high school – in our garage. And he was pretty much self-taught, thanks to YouTube.
There was even an engine in our attic for a time. How he and his friends got that thing up the pull-down stairs in the garage is beyond me. I probably don’t need to know.
Now he works for a good company, traveling to job sites and fixing equipment and vehicles. He loves working with his hands and being out and about in the world. If he had chosen to continue with traditional college and work behind a desk, he would not be a happy man.
He’s socking away every penny he can so he can buy a house in the next year or so.
Our oldest, Pete, went to two colleges attempting two different majors. He was undecided. He eventually took a two-year program and with subsequent jobs learned about yoga for alignment and health (Iyengar).
But his real love was to be traveling the world and experiencing things beyond his safe circle. So, for several years he worked enough to save and then would take an amazing trip somewhere.
A 1,000-mile canoe trip, sleeping under the stars, to raise money for juvenile diabetes. A bicycle, backpack trip through Europe where he stayed with multiple people he met in his travels and camped out in fields.
Mountain climbing, rock climbing, a recent trip to the Adirondack Mountains to hike, snowboard and snowshoe.
Pete once told me he wanted to travel while he could enjoy it; seeing how many people plan it for after retirement and then don’t have their health or the drive.
Now he’s working full time in physical therapy, using his yoga skills and knowledge of anatomy, plus going to school in a pre-med program. His plans are to help heal people with more natural methods.
Does he wish he were done with school? Sometimes. But the choices he made earlier have brought him to this particular path.
My sons took different paths, made different choices, but it worked well for both.
The thing about choices is that sometimes it feels like we don’t have them. We follow the same path because it’s what we’ve always done or what someone else has in mind for us.
Sometimes choices take us in the wrong direction, but I believe those are just detours to teach lessons and we will get back on the right path if we want to.
Ask yourself what your motive is. Is it good for you and not harmful to others?
It’s a whole new year. Take a look at your path and ask if your choices are true to you. Then keep going in the right direction or get off the detour. The choice is yours.
• Kris Stadalsky writes about people and topics in areas southwest of Joliet. Reach her at email@example.com.