A Conscious Choice

A Conscious Choice

Throughout our lives, we make millions of choices and decisions, but how many of us actually make a conscious choice for each of those decisions.

From the time we are little our lives are dominated by choices.

Some sources claim that people make 35,000 decisions a day. So, if we sleep 6 hours a day, that is 1,944 decisions an hour. That’s a lot of choices one has to make.

When you are a child, choices seem to be easier. Do I want to eat, sleep or play? And… as a child, you aren’t really even making a conscious choice. It’s based more on needs and wants.

But as we grow older, we soon begin to realize that if we cry, someone will comfort us and we are naughty we will get punished.

All through our lives, our choices dominate who we are and how we make our way through life.

I remember listening to Caroline Myss and I thought she made a good point.

She said…

If I ran the world, I would make studying the power of choice part of every school ciriculum. That everyone should learn that the power of the choices you make have infinate concequences. From the littest choice to something that is huge and here is the paradox – you have no idea what a little choice is or a big choice is.

What a difference that would make in everyday life.

People would grow up knowing what effect their choice would have on themselves, the people around them, their community and ultimately the world.

But… in this day and age, most of us go around making choices without even knowing we are doing so.

From the start of my day (do I get out of bed or stay in?) to going to bed at night most of my decisions are done unconsciously.

I don’t think about should I use a spoon or a fork to eat my cereal, but make a decision to use a spoon in most cases without having to turn on the thinking process.

Daily conscious decisions come more into the realm of which coat should I wear when I leave the house? If it’s raining I make that choice based on wanting to stay dry.

Or should I take the car or ride my bike? They are all choices and decisions one makes daily.

Did you know that Barack Obama even went so far to unmake choices with his clothes?

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” [Obama] said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

It is also said that making a lot of choices in a day can bring on decision fatigue. That’s where the act of making so many decisions can actually erode a later decision that you might make.

So why all this information about choices you might ask?

Well… it all comes down to, what if you only had just one last choice to make?

What would that be?

You see the other day I got an email along with a bunch of other people who are on the same birding board as I am.

People talk about the birds they have seen, where they spotted them, and how many there were.

Also, other things get tossed in like storied and antidotes, what scope to buy and where’s the best place to find a particular bird.

But this email was a little different and normally I would copy and paste it here for you to read, but I don’t have permission to do so.  You will see why as I will explain as best I can.

This gentleman had been birding most of his adult life and loved nothing better than to get out amongst nature and enjoy the sights.

Four years ago he had a stroke but was still able to take care of himself. He just adapted to his new restrictions by getting a walker and scooter.

Then suddenly he was standing at his walker unable to move. He couldn’t go forward or backwards and was totally frozen.

Despite many treatments and doctor consultations, his condition was irreversible. His doctor had warned him a couple of months previous, but he hadn’t thought much about it at the time.

He always thought that he would die at home but due to this condition, he needed round the clock care which required being at the hospital.

He went on to praise the staff and to say how they made him feel whole and complete and took care to make sure they knew how much it meant to him.

Everything was breaking down and he had multiple system failures in his body. There were too many to repair, so his doctors gave him two options.

  1. To try and extend his life for the time he had left
  2. To end it at the time of his choosing while he was still of sound mind

…and he chose the latter.

(This was due to a new law that came out a month ago that allowed a program of physician-assisted death.)

He wanted to go out with dignity and at a time of his choosing.

He didn’t want to wait until he had another stroke and became unable to make decisions or spend the rest of his life in pain.

So he said goodbye to life on his own terms.

He has no regrets and no doubts and was grateful for the life he led and the time he had on earth.

His last words were “It’s my time, and I choose it. Goodbye and thank you all.”

Tears are rolling down my face as I write this as it touches me at so deep a level, and yet I felt compelled to write about it.

I felt so humbled and moved by his courage and strength and wanted to honour him for his gifts.

We received the email the day after his passing from his email account and it was like he just forgot to hit the send button before he left us.

For most of us, we take making choices or decisions for granted and that they will always be there, but what if we only had one more choice to make?

What would that be?


  1. This could be your best blog post EVER Heather!

    Just being led into a place where we have to THINK consciously, about the 35,000 sub-conscious decisions we make every day whether we like it or not, or whether we are aware of it or not is like jumping off a cliff!

    What different directions would our life take, or what different directions could our life take had we made different decisions, causes me to go into free-fall. You just HAVE to wonder don’t you?

    For me a whole myriad of different scenarios start popping up from even the simplest of decisions I make. If I had gone out on my bike today, when it’s dry, rather than yesterday when it was wet, would I still have skidded and fallen off? If not, I wouldn’t have had to go to the Pharmacy today to get Neosporin. Then I wouldn’t have seen the two escaped dogs at the end of my road and notify their owner..and maybe they would have been hit by a car..and then what?

    Then to be plunged into the ‘physician assisted’ departure from life as we know it? Wow. I guess it all depends on your perspective on life and death. Personally, for me it’s one and the same.

    I have never understood about society’s conditioning about fearing death. From the day we are born, we all know we are going there. The only variables are when and how, and even they won’t matter after the fact will they? So why do they matter now?

    In my family I have talked about death since my grown up kids were born. We all view death as life. Just the opposite book-end to being born and equally wondrous. Not as an end, but just a change of scenery. Life is just a job you are assigned to by the agency. You need to do the best you can do with it, and be the best you can be at living it or you won’t get paid (fulfilment).

    Then, when that job is done you go back to the agency for another job.
    There is absolutely no point in hanging on to the last job after it’s done is there? And being late for the next job would set a bad precedent wouldn’t it? Better to be a little early for the next job I say.

    Personally I want to get a front row seat at the agency when the next jobs are assigned. Nothing would upset me more than to be standing at the back and getting left with the job that everyone else who got there on time had rejected!

    For me, the decision the birder guy made to leave early would be very straightforward, and I wouldn’t hesitate a bit.



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