My friend writes about choices and how it affects our lives. How often if we choose one thing, we give-up something else. How that is difficuilt and sad and hard.
And she makes me think.
About my life which has become an ‘our life’.
About our life.
About the choices we’ve made and the choices I’ve made and how they’ve not only brought me to this very place in life, but also how they’ve affected Zuko and our three magnificent children.
As children we don’t have that much choice. Zuko and I try to raise the three little people with lots and lots of freedom. They choose their own clothes, when to wear it and in which combination. They choose they’re own rhythm, they’re own interests. Still, we choose many things on their behalf. Where we live. Where and how they’ll be educated. Where we’ll go on holiday and what we’ll do for fun.
As children we are pretty much swooped along by the choices of our parents. In fact, I think, we look to our parents to make many decisions on our behalf, even without knowing it and then comes pre-adulthood and adulthood & suddenly we’re it.
We have to choose.
And without even thinking about it we start making choices in the way we saw our parents making choices & we run the risk of blindly mimiking everything they did in the way they did it.
Or – we were so frustrated as pre-adults with the inability or the lack of freedom to choose that the moment we get ‘choice’ in our own hands becomes the moment we start choosing the exact oposite, just because it is the oposite and we saw clearly the other side is not what we would want to perpetuate.
I’m forty this year.
If you’re on your way to sixty or even past that mark you’ll probably think: ‘wow, that’s nice and young.’
If twenty still seems closer to you, you might think: ‘shame, the poor guy is getting old.’
This is part of what is flashing through my own mind as that birthday comes closer: ‘I’ve been at this adulthood thing for more than two decades. I might have two or if I’m lucky three decades left.’ And so I go into that place of looking back and considering where I’ve been & what I’ve done & what I’ve spent my time on and the choices I’ve made.
I think I made some good choices.
I’m not talking about the silly everyday choices. The real ones. The ones which matter & affect your life.
I chose to go to University after graduating from high school. My parents couldn’t finance this choice, so it was my choice and I financed it myself through loans and bursaries and part-time work at anything from a furniture retailer to a bowling alley.
At twenty two, still a part-time employed student, I fell in love with Zuko and asked her to marry me and we did. Probably the best choice I ever made. I won’t have the chance to make such an enormous choice again and perhaps the success of this choice has enabled me to make many other choices which seem small and insignificant in comparison.
The opportunity presented itself for me to go work in the Kalahari. I chose to take it and Zuko and I had five unforgetable years in a world with people we would never have known.
It was there that we chose to have children.
Yes, it is a choice and sometimes it is not. Friends of ours also ‘chose’ to have children and she didn’t fall pregnant. And eventualy they adopted and now have two stunning children. They persisted in their choice to have children, even if it would not happen in the way they expected it to happen.
They chose to see their choice through. To not give-up, even if reality was stacked against them.
I’ve made this choice as well. Or maybe we did, Zuko and I together.
Getting married to Zuko and starting to share life with her affected me. It confronted me with many aspects of who I had become and how I had come to think, over time, as I shared my childhood years with my own parents and brothers and sister.
That is how it works. The people we spend time with, the relationships we have, affect us. They leave fingerprints on our being.
And not always pretty ones.
There came a time in my and Zuko’s relationship when we had to choose again. When we had to choose if we’ll stick to our original choice and choose to grow together and become new, rather than give it up and stumble on in the patterns of our socialization.
Zuko chose it with me.
We chose to grow.
We chose to come alongside each other and do whatever we can to make each other bloom.
We chose to trust each other. To believe each other, that each of us has only the best interest of the other at heart.
We chose to believe each other.
We chose to be honest with each other, even if we knew we are being stupid.
We chose to embrace each other.
I could never have chosen this.
Not as I was when Zuko stole my heart.
I pray that my children will one day meet their own Zuko – that someone who sees them as they could never see themselves.
I pray that they would be able to believe that someone, that they would be brave enough to trust that someone and become more as they connect.
Zuko and I chose many other things.
We chose to return to our hometown.
We chose to live in the little wooden house on the not so little hill.
We chose to homeschool our kids.
We chose to find ways in which she could freelance as photographer, so that she would have a space in which she would be able to express her creativity and have her own thing which she does exceptionally.
We chose not to have my money and your money.
We chose to be an ‘us’ without fail.
Looking back I can see how our choices affect where we are, but we should not fool ourselves – it isn’t all about the choices we make.
It is also about the choices we can make. Had my parents not chosen to live in Port Elizabeth I would never have come into proximity to Zuko and I would never even have the choice of sharing life with her.
There is an element of chance to our lives.
I don’t like chance.
It is cold.
I believe there is God.
I believe he wants nothing, but to be involved in our lives.
I believe that is the reason for this reality’s existence.
I believe this God synchronizes.
That Zuko and I met.
That the opportunity arose for us to go live in the Kalahari.
That the opportunity arose for us to come live in the little wooden house on the not so little hill.
Off course we have choice.
Even if he synchronized our proximity, at the same time I was in proximity to a myriad of other girls and could just as well have chosen any one of them.
Yet, I chose Zuko.
It is easy for me to call, what others might call ‘chance’, to call it ‘God’.
I like what has come across my path.
Perhaps it is not so easy for you.
Perhaps it is easier to call it chance, for at least then it does not have personality and cannot be willful.
The blue tongues.
The picture at the top.
That is my family.
That is us.
On that day we chose to eat a whole bag of bubblegum fizzers.
We laughed at our blue tongues and told all our friends that we were infected with a terrible disease.
We laughed a lot that day.
We should not take ourselves too seriously.
We choose the best we can with what we have and where we are.
My friend Manie often says ‘hindsight is always 20/20.’
It is easy to look back, after the fact, and say I should have chosen differently.
You couldn’t and that is okay.
When new opportunities come your way, you will be able to choose in new ways.
Yes, choice determines the direction of our lives.
I like my life.
At the moment Zuko and I are considering selling everything and taking 12 months out from life. 12 months to take the Landy and the tents across our country and maybe even into neighboring countries. And then start again. From scratch. The second half towards sixty.
I don’t know if we’ll do it.
But we could.
And if we do, it will be good.
If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy my books available from Amazon’s Kindle-store.
Just click this link to take a look: Theunis Pienaar in Amzaon.