I Belive in Small Decisions

Juliette - San Clemente, California
Entered on September 18, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death

A moment can alter your day or your entire life. It is through the small, but momentous experiences that lives are changed. A phone call, a glance, a kind word all hold more power than the credit they are given. The simple friendly, greeting, smile to the stranger may have saved their life, given them the restored hope in humanity they needed to survive another day. However, it is also the unexpected late night call which can instantly shape the future. Growing up in a divided family where misunderstood tones, glances, and phrasings would be rewarded with outbursts of anger, it is easy to understand the power the small moments have in shaping the future. However, it never touched me in a greater way than a piece of news one November.

Hearing the repercussions of someone else’s instant decision would leave a lasting impact. I do not remember the details of the day up until the news was spoken to me. “Juliette,” my mother looked at me her tone serious, “there has been an accident with Natasha.” At that moment I knew that she had not survived whatever accident had befallen her, and I would never rekindle the close relationship I had with my life-long friend. The moment did not seem real; it was incomprehensible to attempt to understand the loss of someone so close to myself. I had been to more funerals in the last year than I wanted to remember, but this one was my friend, my loss. That piece of news delivered to me via my mother, in the Panda Express altered my views on life, friendship, and above all the impact of small moments.

After staring at my humongous Golden Spoon serving until it turned into slush, I tried to grasp what this news meant: for me, Natasha’s family, and our lives. Obviously life went on, nobody saw my internal change, understood why I now vehemently refused to make jokes about drunk driving or why I had started the annoying habit of staring off into space in the middle of conversations. These moments of silence allowed my grief to be felt as it was at the moment and to not have it diminished by forced or false sympathy. These quiet moments were how I chose to begin healing, and how I began to understand the weight of small choices. The small choices that I make on a daily basis provide an unknowable weight, and responsibility, on the shoulders of others. This weight cannot be comprehended as the exact impact my actions have on another person cannot be measured. Realizing that the seemingly insignificant choices I make now have irreversible consequences, placed my life in a new perspective. It made the imminent future appear hazy and completely reliant upon the decisions I made in the present. I believe in the weight of small decisions and actions, life is composed of them, although their relevance may not always be understood, each action has the weight to touch someone else’s life. Life is measured by the moments that are unexpected, the small but momentous consequences that result from seemingly unimportant decisions.

I will always remember that as a result of a momentary lapse in judgment I lost one of my closest friends. I now make sure each of the small actions are weighted more than current actions which appear momentous. However, it is also with a heavy heart I remember the best times I shared with my close friend were the result of spontaneous decisions, leading to memorable adventures. That which makes life worth living cannot be planned, and therefore I regard each choice and decision as an opportunity for greatness.