Throughout our lives we make tons of pivotal decisions. Some of these are significant enough that we give them lots of thought and it’s not a surprise when they greatly affect our life path - things like beginning or ending a relationship, or moving to a new area, or changing our lifestyle.
Lately though I’ve been contemplating which thoughtless, inane decisions I made have had the largest butterfly effects in my life.
One example: when I was entering middle school I was, for the first time, allowed to choose which elective courses I wanted to take by filling out a paper slip. I thought playing a brass or percussion instrument seemed pretty badass so I signed up for band. Before I turned it in, though, my older sister saw it, said “band is dumb, do chorus instead,” erased my selection and marked choir instead. Being 11 years old at the time I had no strong feelings about it so I said whatever and went on with my life.
And now, several decades later, I have sang in choirs since then, the vast majority of my friends are those I met in choirs (or theater, which is choir adjacent), and I have spent most of my adult life making money working either in or around choirs in some capacity. It’s my life.
I often wonder how my life would be different if she hadn’t changed my registration sheet. (She didn’t even enjoy choir that much and quit two years later). Would I be living a parallel path of loving and working in music, but with bands instead of choirs? Would I have switched sometime during middle school and then reverted to the same life path I’m on now? Or would I have simply been less hooked to music and instead lived and worked in the field of one of my other interests that are mere hobbies right now?
I’ll never know, of course. But it sure is interesting to think about. Probably the vast majority of the tiny inane decisions we make don’t end up having much of an effect on our lives. But every now and then there’s one that randomly changes a lot.
You ever been there, Tildes?