Restoring the chi

There is great benefit to thinking things through, to making informed decisions after careful reflection and logical analysis. But sometimes, on matters of great importance to the self, we hide a premise or two from our conscious thought — and exploring one’s own behavior can be the key to completing the syllogism and thus overcoming the mental barrier.

Yesterday I had a delightful dinner with my dear friend Tony. We went to a nice little restaurant in Okemos, Mich., and split a decent bottle of Merlot with our meal. During the conversation — which, despite that we had gathered to celebrate his birthday and his passage of the state bar exam, was dominated by discussion of me — he helped me to realize that some of my thinking about a number of personal and work-related issues was rooted in tunnel vision about my options.

In December 2004, I had to effect several personally challenging decisions about what I was doing, and why. As a result, I left the editorship of the Western Herald and put my graduate program on hiatus. And I don’t regret it for a minute. My breakthrough came when I realized that I had the option to simply walk away. Such knowledge is incredibly liberating.

And such knowledge was forgotten until Tony reminded me that I have other paths that could branch out before me.

Where will I be in three months? I honestly don’t know. I might be still gainfully employed at the hospital, doing what I do with data. Or, I might be preparing to re-launch my graduate studies while reaping the profits of a potentially quite lucrative business venture. Or, I might be getting ready to begin training as a Navy officer. Or, I might be working full-time as a journalist. Who can say? I can’t — and that’s rather fun.

Fundamentally, I forgot that I have options, and the false sense of entrapment that had been bugging me in recent weeks abated as I appreciated that my happiness is my own to create. When you have options, you have the freedom to put life’s frustrations into their proper place and to focus on what’s really important.

As Tracey might say … my chi has been restored. And all at the cost of a little trite psycho-philosophizing. Not bad.

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