One of the best things about life is our power to choose. We get to choose the kinds of careers we want to have, the friends we want to include in our circle, and a significant other we want to make a long-term committment to. We get to choose when it’s time to make a radical change or when it’s time to move on. Most importantly, we get to choose how to create our own version of happiness.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about choices and how it’s not necessarily about making the right choice so much as it is about making the best choice for yourself. Sometimes making the best choice isn’t so obvious. Sometimes making the best choice leaves you feeling anxious. Sometimes the best choice will be painful to make, but if you believe in making the best choice over the right choice, it has greater potential to lead you down that road toward happiness.
It’s been a little over six months since I made the radical choice to move to the Czech Republic. It wasn’t the right choice – that would have been to stay in Philadelphia or relocate to Washington, D.C. to look for another job. The right choice would have kept me chained down to the Corporate lifestyle for the next few years. Instead, I made the best choice for me - to spend some time on the other side of the world, experimenting in different fields, doing some soul-searching, and choosing to dive into a new adventure with the belief that my version of happiness is on the other end.
Over the course of these six months, every choice that I have made has been done with the belief that it’s the best choice for me. Like returning to the Motherland because it felt like the appropriate time to finally get some closure. And committing to work and live in Australia for one year. Six months of making the best choices instead of making the right choices and I can already feel myself leaping down that shiny, yellow
brick road toward happiness.
The biggest thing that I’ve learned from this six-month journey is that happiness really is fleeting. The things that you thought made you really happy – like climbing the Corporate ladder and playing hockey four nights a week – are things that you surprisingly don’t miss anymore. And the things that you recently discovered made you happy – like Backpacker’s Nights and meeting people at hostels – are things that you’re craving to get back. Happiness comes in waves – some are small currents and some are huge riptides - and the trick is figuring out how to way to ride those waves in a constant motion.
Six months into this journey and I feel like I’m back where I had once started, having to choose between the right choice and the best choice. Though the conditions are much different this time around, the feeling is still the same. The right choice is to stay. The best choice is to leave. The right choice is to finish out the commitment I made to Australia. The best choice is to finish out my current job contract, pack up my belongings, and spend time backpacking through Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, and South East Asia. The right choice is to stay for my existing relationship because it’s healthy and good and a small reason why I chose to stay here in the first place. The best choice is to end my existing relationship because I suddenly discovered that my ability to care for this man is far much greater than my ability to fall in love with him.
Six months and there’s so much more at stake. Like another person, feelings, a work and holiday visa, and happiness. This time it’s not as simple as “Plan A fell through so now it’s time for Plan B!” This time I don’t know if it’s better to choose what’s right or to choose what’s best.