Where we are today is the result of a sum total of millions of decisions big and small that were made in the past. This massive collections of moments has one way or the other led us to where we are now.
Some of these decisions were difficult and seemed very important at the time. In the long run it turns out that these so-called grave decisions actually barely changed things at all, forgotten and turned to dust on the road behind us.
On the other hand, the real impact on our lives comes from decisions which at the time might have seemed very trivial, those which perhaps we were not even conscious of making at that defining moment of our lives. A fractional change in direction, a fleeting thought or a random whim which didn't make sense at the time.
Thinking about it logically, I shouldn't be here. The long and winding path I have taken doesn't make sense. I could've gotten here much easier and the distance should have been covered more directly. A different roll of the dice would have put me way over there and not where I am standing right now.
Today marks exactly thirty years ago since where while in Norway, I first laid eyes on my wife, indeed a very defining moment. I remember falling in love with her immediately. After having crossed paths randomly while on our own separate vacations, she arriving from Amsterdam and me all the way from California, we spent a couple intense days together walking along the romantic Sognefjord.
Then it was time to part and go our separate ways. She would be staying on a couple extra days, and it was time for me to continue my journey with my fellow traveler Kevin. To go or not to go. I felt devastated and asked her what I should do. Her reply was simple and logical: just leave, we had fun while it lasted but things couldn't last forever.
The defining moment took place down at the harbor where I stood there wondering whether or not I should hop on the ferry and just leave her forever. I hesitated although my friend kept urging me to forget about that Dutch girl and just come along as promised. I remember looking down and seeing the edge of the boat ramp and the solid ground I was standing on, undulating slightly as the water ripples lapped up against the side.
In the end I stayed. The ferry kept getting farther and farther away. My friend was not very pleased that I had broken my promise to travel with him, and I watched the ferry get farther and farther away. When I walked back up the hill to the youth hostel, it was drizzling.
One thing led to the next, followed by decisions here and there and elsewhere. Thirty years later and I am standing here and not over there.