In Marcus Aurelius’s book, Meditations, he wrote, "what we do now echoes in eternity. Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one." In the 2000 film Gladiator, the lead character speaks a similar line during a battle scene.
Rewatching Gladiator and reflecting on current events inspired this week’s post.
The choices we make in life are parts of a test larger than ourselves. Sometimes our decisions enable us to pass, and sometimes we fail. How many answers we get correct during our daily exams can only be assessed when we run out of time and die.
I know that’s a morbid introduction, but keep reading for more insights about choices and decisions.
R. Kelly received 30 years in prison because he chose to abuse women, girls, and boys to fulfill his appetite for perverse power and pleasure. He didn’t use his resources for the necessary therapy to heal wounds from the sexual abuse he endured as a child. That decision and his entourage's help empowered him to spread his pain to others.
On June 22nd, we lost the pioneer Willie Morrow who chose to invest his creative energy into the Afro pick and the Jheri curl. He dedicated his life to entrepreneurialism. The profits of his decisions paid confidence dividends to members of the black community.
A couple of weeks ago, the Supreme Court chose to alter the reproductive rights for women. Abortion is now illegal in some states to plan parenthood. Lower-income women of color will suffer again because of the choices and decisions made by men.
As folks lined up to enjoy an Independence Day parade in the Chicago suburb, Highland Park, a man chose to execute his plan for the week. He threw another twist in the safe narrative of the suburban lifestyle. The suspect’s decision to shoot killed seven and injured 47.
The Highland Park community is about an hour from my former home.
Eric Holder Jr., the man suspected of killing Nipsey Hussle, was convicted of murder this week because of his choices and decisions.
Our choices and decisions carry weight in the present and future. We must bring more awareness to how we live.
Six years ago, my wife and I chose to move abroad. We left to create familial and entrepreneurial pathways to success that felt impossible to achieve in the daily grind. Our decision was not about trying to escape the social and political climate of the US.
Trump's popularity did not encourage us to stay, but R. Kelly toured, Willie Morrow's ventures soured, the Supreme Court deliberated other cases, Highland Park thrived as a safer suburb, and Nipsey Hussle made music when we left.
In the States, I often said, "God would not give me anything that I can't handle." I had some challenges but felt a modicum of control. While my faith continues to hold me down during difficult moments abroad, some days, I say, "God is giving me more than I can handle. I could use some help. ”
My wins help me understand the decision to live outside the US. When my wife lands a new client, smiles in a conversation with her local friends, or shares another positive experience with me, I feel blessed. When my children excel in school and compete in sports, I feel proud. When I help a student succeed, reach a personal fitness goal, and progress in my work, I receive confirmation that I chose and decided on a viable option for my family.
Please, don’t look at my life as a model for you or your family. That’s not the intent of this blog. I want to help you find and create contentment in the choices you make to produce the life you desire.
Today, we have another test. What will you choose to do with your time? Remember, our lives reverberate in eternity. That's a superfluous or fancy way of saying that legacy is important.
This weekend, reflect on how your choices and decisions determine how you live. Subscribe to this blog if you find it helpful.