Work, Writing, and Walter White

Everything we do involves a choice on some level.  We may not realize it, accept it, or think that we have it.  But for pretty much everyone I know at least, there are virtually no choices that we do not have some control over.  Most of them quite a bit if we will be honest about it.

I just recently made the choice, albeit late, to watch Breaking Bad.  A few months earlier I chose to take on a challenging job.  And, I have been spending a lot of time with a long-time friend, who has been facing a number of choices.

His choices revolve around work/life balance.  I keep telling him that he needs to prioritize.

Often he responds something to the effect of: “I had to…” I respond “You chose to…”

Big difference.

My wife tells me that choosing NOT to make a choice is still a conscious choice, whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not.  That’s very true, and I think when we tell ourselves (or others) we “had” to do something that was clearly not our first choice, we are simply rationalizing what was in reality a poor choice.

My friend and I had just spent a few hours in a pretty heated discussion about choices and priorities then sat down to watch Breaking Bad.  In this particular episode Walt was sitting down with Walt Jr. and as Jr. tried to sympathize with Walt’s fake gambling addiction (to cover the real source of his new-found wealth for those who may not have been on the Breaking Bad Bandwagon on which I firmly, again admittedly late, sit).Walt got pissed off.  Not unusual for Walt, or anyone who is facing their own poor choices in life.

Honestly, I can relate.

Walt tried to tell Jr. that he had made a choice, that it was not a “disease” and that it was a terrible choice that he was going to have to live with, for the rest of his life.   He screamed something to the effect of: “I made a choice, we all make choices! And we have to live with them!”

At that point my friend sat up and looked at me almost astonished.

“Choices!” is all he said.

A few days later he took a new job that several people he admires were not sure he should take because the position was not “ambitious” enough.  He knew though that the position was fine, and that his work/life balance would be much improved.

He made his choice. More importantly he acknowledged that not only did he have a choice, but that it was his and his alone to make, and best of all that he was going to make it for himself.

I’m proud of him.

Decide what you want out of this life, then either do things that make it possible, or do something else.  Your choice.

-The Two Cheeks