‘To be or not to be’

Hamlet, the prince of problems, stimulates us to think about the challenges of living in the real world.

In his soliloquy “To be or not to be” — the single most recognizable passage in western literature — we contemplate  a serious issue. Is it better to endure suffering or end one’s life to take a chance in an uncertain afterlife?  It all boils down to choice.

Choice, it is said, is destiny’s soulmate. It is not pre-destined, you have a choice to accept or refuse, to take one turning down the crossroads to the future or another.

By not choosing, we allow others to decide for us. If you didn’t make the choice, you can not blame someone else if you’re unhappy.

As you retrace your journey, were you deliberate, impulsive? Was the choice made with your heart, mind or gut? Were you comfortable with your style of decision making or do you cringe?

Did you weigh the options, ponder the possibilities, brood, prayed for guidance or asked your heart? Every choice I make is a leap in the dark with the hope I’ll land on my feet. Believing that you only regret the things that  you have  done – never things you did not do but could have done. I believed in Hemingway’s “Right decisions are the wrong decision rightly made.” (Think of Bergman’s choice of Rosselini).

I always lived my choice, never looked back (think of Lot’s wife) for a long time, though eventually, with hindsight I glanced back and see which it was,  wise or wrong.  A calculated risk, I did the best that one could.  The spirit asks for nothing more — why should you.

I’ve never confused bad choices with wrong choices.  We have all made them happen when we embark on sinuous stretches of self destruction, usually with a smile. You didn’t ask your heart or best fried for advice.  You didn’t  ponder, and certainly didn’t pray. Why? Because on the deepest intuitive level, you know you shouldn’t even be entertaining the thought of this choice, but you want to do it so badly that even its badness doesn’t daunt you. In fact, it eggs you on, even with closed eyes, you knew and saw disaster was coming.  Bad choices, it is said, are made while we’re sleepwalking.  Then we wake up asking, “How could I have been so stupid?”  Was that what psychiatrists “coma choices?”

In a lifetime, I’ve made wise choices, good choices, strong choices, courageous choices, happy choices.  Brilliant decisions, we just don’t remember many of them.

That’s because we shrug off any good thing that arrives in our lives as if it were a fluke, a lucky break, a misdelivery. Certainly, I’ve never given myself credit. Only when things don’t work out, only when I make mistakes  and stumble on missteps do I feel responsible. Then I claim all the blame.

Many of us thinks of choice as a spiritual gift, a choice burdened to be endured, not embraced. But after breath, is there more precious gift than free will?

The life at this exact moment, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, or who you’re with.  It is a direct result of choices you made once upon a time, forty minutes or forty years ago.  From the time you decided to get out of bed, make breakfast, get the children to school, get to work on time, you’ve already made more than three choices, before nine o clock. Think of having to make 365 choices in order to spend the distance between your dreams and making it coming true.

The wrong choice is not necessarily a bad choice, and we don’t know if it is wise or wrong.  Until we lived it, we’re torn between the agonizing “should” and “shouldn’ts,” in an inner debate that began to rage — into melancholy remorse.

What we will be searching for are choices that gave the moment that have made a trajectory of ones life, though the assumption and expectation that have shaped on through the successes and failures that have defined us. Through the loves and hates, gains and losses, promises and pain; we bore one  through the risks and ruins, tumults and triumphs that set one free and reflect on all the perfectly reasonable choice that derailed ones dreams as we try to and brush off clinging and hiding half truths that have haunted you for all these years.


E-mail Mylah at [email protected]

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