Choose Your Own Adventure

I was reminded of this book series the other day.  Just the mention of it brought a smile to my face, along with a rush of warm fuzzies.  I loved these books. 

For some reason, when I was a kid, it seems that we only ever went to the library in the summertime.  (Most likely for the summer reading program that awarded us with our very own personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut, but I digress.  Already.)  I was a huge bookworm when I was little.  I'd walk into the library, hang a right, and pour over the shelves grabbing the next four or five books from all of the series I was reading:  Nancy Drew, Babysitter's Club, Fear Street, and the highly exciting Choose Your Own Adventure series.  I'd finish all 10+ books in less than two weeks and return for more.

I could talk about the merits and/or drawbacks of sitting inside all summer reading by the air conditioner vent, but that's not what this blog is about.  (Not today, anyway.)

It's just that the more I reminisce about this little book series, the more the sheer genius of it hits home.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, as the reader, we were in control of the fate of the characters.  After the basic plot was set up, the protagonist was faced with a decision to make that would be something like, "If you decide to go down the waterfall in the raft, turn to page 3.  If you decide to paddle back to shore, turn to page 4."

There would be a lot more choices before the story concluded with finding a big sum of money/saving the day/getting lost in the jungle forever/dying a gruesome death. 

Youth literature in the 80's and 90's was hardcore.

The thing that gets me now, as I think back on this delightfully exciting book series, is that it's just one big analogy for this life.  Life is nothing but a series of choices...start to finish.  And regardless of the choices we make, it's one big adventure.  No doubts about that.

Occasionally, I've wondered how life might have played out differently for me if I'd have chosen band over sports in high school, if I'd chosen to stay in state for college versus moving 800 miles from home, if I'd chosen to take one of my other job offers instead of the one where I am today, if we'd stayed in our last house, if we'd chosen a different daycare for our children.  The thing is, it doesn't matter.  You can't flip the pages back if you don't like the outcome of your choices.  Sunshine or gloom, it's our adventure.  The difference between these books and real life, though, is that we don't have to wait for a crossroads to make a choice.  If the adventure isn't going the way we planned, we have the power to make a choice right now.  

For me, I'm absolutely thrilled with where my decisions have gotten me.  I also know that I was not alone in making those decisions.  In fact, the times in my life when I had the hardest decisions to make were the times I had the most peace, because I prayed, heard, and actually listened to what I was hearing.  I believe God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.  I believe the Holy Spirit speaks to me in the form of gut instinct.  It's a powerful thing and, so far, hasn't steered me astray.  There have, however, been times when "my gut" told me the right choice, I ignored it, and, as a result, I ended up in a pickle.  ("A pickle" is just a more fun way of saying "a really crappy place".)

But the choices are unending; some significant, some seemingly insignificant, some truly meaningless.  Tonight, I choose to go home and enjoy my little girls while their big brother is off having some Grandaddy time.  I choose to try to convince my late-working husband to grab a bite to eat with me so I don't have to cook.  Tomorrow, I will be faced with more choices.  Maybe some of them will be quite serious.  Maybe they won't.  But the fact is, those choices, all of them, are what make up my adventure. 

Here's hoping I choose wisely. 

And just maybe I'll manage to have a little bit of fun along the way!


Kristen said...

Sounds like me as a kid - more books than thought humanly possible and back for more a couple of weeks later. I loved the choose your own adventure series too. Great thoughts for the day!

Anonymous said...

Jennie, I love your blog! Tonight I chose to play in the tree with Brock rather than finish making dinner. I figure that time is more important than what I felt I should have been doing :) Heather

p.s. I loved those books too. Choose your own adventure is cool :)

Debbie said...

I read this last night before bed and was thinking about it this morning. You are so right, of course, and I love the analogy.

Debbie... an old broad who made the choice to plunk by her laptop rather than walk when it was cooler this morning...

Bad choice, Debbie, bad choice.

Jennie said...

Thanks ladies!

Heather, what I wouldn't give to see you dangling from a tree while the pots boiled over! :)

Jennie...who hasn't exercised in weeks because I feel like I paid my dues in the months of April & May. Too bad it doesn't work that way...

Here's to better choices tomorrow! :)

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