Everything we do (or don't do) in life has a consequence.
If you choose to smoke cigarettes, for instance, you increase drastically your chances of getting cancer, emphysema, asthma, or some other smoking-related disease, likely shortening your life. You also expose your children to second-hand smoke, increasing their chances of illness. (And your clothes and your house smell. No matter how careful you are, they stink.)
If you choose to make fats and sugars and white flour the majority of your dietary intake, you likewise dramatically increase your chances of obesity and all its related health issues, which then may limit your activities, your self-esteem, your income, and likely will shorten your life.
And if you stop unhealthy behaviors, you also may extend and improve your life and increase your pleasure and happiness. Even when damage has been done, making choices that improve your life can make it better.
If you lie about what you do or who you're with or what you've achieved or where you've been, those lies will eventually surface and almost inevitably will cause trouble with your job, your loved ones, your health, and have ripple effects that can disrupt your living situation, your income, and even your freedom. Certainly they can have devastating effects on your mental wellbeing.
A choice made years ago can determine who and where you find yourself today. Sometimes the consequences take time to become evident, too -- even years.
Every action, every decision (or failure to decide), every choice has a re-action, a consequence. But when do we realize this? How old do you have to be before it sinks in?
It took me years to recognize that, really. Yeah, I knew early on that if I lied to my mother I was going to receive a much harsher punishment than I'd otherwise have gotten (she was that kind of mother. So was I.) I knew that if I didn't study my stupid algebra that I was not likely to pass a test -- although I also learned that in subjects I liked and which came easily to me, I sometimes could slack off and still receive a decent grade, and good grades got you more privileges and more interesting classes.
But I didn't think so much about the consequences of what I said or something I did until I was a lot older. And in the last few decades, choices and their consequences have been almost automatic considerations as I've gone about daily life.
Doesn't mean I don't make some choices that could hurt me down the road -- like having that scoop of ice cream after a healthy salad lunch. Like not getting on the treadmill every day. I try to make up for those lapses -- actually, those choices -- in other ways, however. Whether that will be good enough remains to be seen. Like I said, some of the consequences take years...and are cumulative...
Making choices about how we behave with our friends and family requires more deliberate thought, however, and I think we become more careful about our actions as we age.
Most of the time nowadays, I actually put the brain in gear before the mouth opens. I know I choose my battles far more selectively, and I try to weigh my words and their potential effect. I try to listen more than I talk. And I try to be kind, no matter what I say (although the girl in the Red Bluff Metro PCS office today probably wouldn't agree as I explained emphatically that what they did was a 'bait and switch' tactic and that I was not going to pay for the plan they'd automatically 'bumped' R's new account up to. It took 15 minutes and a great deal of talk and frustration to get the monthly bill to the point where I'd pay for it. But I digress...)
I've become far more protective of myself and my honey, and our wellbeing. Realizing that I can't 'fix' others' lives and actually living mine accordingly was a big breakthrough for me. That's resulted in establishing some boundaries that have definitely had consequences for me as well as for the other people involved -- there are some things that I'd thought would be part of my life that will likely never be, for instance, and some of those relationships are not what I'd hoped they might be. I'm slowly making my peace with that.
Probably the most searched terms within this blog have to do with getting out of life what you put into it, and reaping what you sow. I suppose this entry follows those themes once more. Every decision, every action has a consequence eventually. And a measure of maturity is, I suppose, the ability to project that choice into what consequences might follow it.
May your choices be well-reasoned and made with your highest self in mind.