My favorite line from the movie Forrest Gump is “My Mama always says that life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
I’ve thought about that line many times in my life since the first time I’ve heard it. You really have no clue what you’re going to get. Things seldom turn out how you envision them to be. When you are at the age to begin to contemplate life, you begin with an innocent belief that life will be an amazing collection of slow motion magical moments. And then you grow up, and life actually happens. Rarely, if ever, is it all rainbows and puppies. Life is harder than we expect or imagine when we are young. We are always seeking our happy place yet seldom do we find it.
We feel entitled to happiness. We believe it is a gift that we are entitled to simply because we were born.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the only entitlement we have is by our own choices. Each step that we take puts us on our own path. Forward, backward, left, or right. Sometimes we get to choose the direction we go in. But even then, our happiness isn’t guaranteed.
Because we don’t always know what life is going to throw at us, that we might want to choose to ride the good karma train… Just in case. If we treat someone poorly, perhaps life will reflect that choice. If we are good to others, then maybe goodness will find its way to us. Yet that doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen to good people and vice versa, or that people are absolutely good or bad. We have no control.
It’s like a box of chocolates.
We only have our decisions, our free will, and our limited ability and knowledge to choose.
I was abandoned at an early age and I have wondered countless times what would have happened to me if I hadn’t been. I wonder who I would be if my parents hadn’t decided to let me go. I don’t even know if they chose, or if the choice was made for them. But regardless, I still wonder…
Would I have still ended up here? Would I get to be married to my husband and have the exact same beautiful family? Would I be the same person? Would I even be here, in the United States? Would I be writing this blog? I’m certain that the answers to all of my questions would be a resounding “No!”
I’m completely certain that my life would have been astoundingly different. So I am thankful that they walked away from me because I can’t imagine my life turning out any other way. I love my family and my life beyond words and I feel that this was my… fate, although I don’t completely believe that fate exists. At least not the uncontrollable, whimsical, magical brand of fate that you find in movies and fairy tales.
It seems unromantic not to believe in fate. But I do believe that because of choices, our fate is often influenced. So while life is far from predictable, the circumstances and people that we choose for our lives can create another story altogether.
So I think about choices a lot. And Chocolate.
I have been defined by my own good or poor choices, and those of people around me. Other’s choices, regardless of motive or result, have shaped my life in ways that have rendered me helpless. While frustrating, the reality is, that I have to accept it. It’s like biting into that disgusting piece of red cream chocolate that I always try so desperately to avoid. Sometimes, it just happens. Sometimes, life just happens.
It adds a different dynamic to the assortment of chocolates as well as to me. As I get older, I realize that there is so much truth to that one simple line. We can’t predict what we will get in life. But we can choose our path, hope for the best, and choose wisely and with integrity along the way.
And when you bite into that red cream chocolate, you can either swallow it and move on, or spit it out and start all over. That choice is completely up to you!