Matthew Kelly once said, “Everything is a choice.

This is life’s greatest truth and its hardest lesson. It is a great truth because it reminds us of our power. Not power over others, but the often untapped power to be ourselves and to live the life we have imagined.”

What if we have it all wrong? What if life isn’t about choices but ultimately about sacrifices? The things we choose are not alternatives that exist in the presence of the other but a series of sacrifices that once you choose, the other cannot be.

Is it right to say you’re choosing to be single as opposed to being in a relationship or are you sacrificing your self reliance and independence for intimacy and company? Perhaps both? With choices come sacrifices of what you once knew and become so used to.

As I get older, choices seem more burdened to sacrificial decisions where the things I once knew should no longer apply. I once knew that I can party all night long simply because it was a choice I made between going out with friends or staying in to study. That was a choice. After years of nights I can’t remember, friendships fostered from beer and fist pumping music, it doesn’t even dawn on me as a choice. This becomes a lifestyle curated by the people around you. Maybe you’ve experienced a different path. Maybe you’ve chosen to study and dedicate 10+ years in prolonged eye to text strains, late night papers, and hard ass dedication to becoming a professional student. That was a choice right? At some point, the choices you’ve made stresses you to make sacrifices that are no longer choices. They’re what you have to give up. The origin of the word sacrifice is to “surrender, give up, suffer to be lost”. One cannot move forward without letting go of the “choices” that they’ve made to create the life they’ve lived.

Mark Manson describes “life is a bitch that happens in four stages – Mimicry, Self-Discovery, Commitment, and Legacy”. Within each of those stages we can make choices. Choose to backpack Europe or Asia. Choose to become a Marketing professional or Stock Broker. The thing about progressing from one stage to the other is not through choices but through sacrifices. You can’t choose Self-Discovery over Commitment. You can’t choose to “find yourself” and want a committed relationship. One that’s supposed to last a lifetime anyway.

 “The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.” —Thornton Wilder

Are you still choosing or are you making sacrifices?

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