By Eric Hodgdon
It has been estimated that people make approximately 35,000 remotely conscious decisions every day. From what to eat, what to wear, which route to take to school or work, who to hang out with, or how to navigate a tough situation, that’s a lot of brain power spent making choices.
In 2005, I was getting divorced and entering the world of single-parenthood. It meant that I would be making choices, new ones, and certainly not easy ones. I had to find the means to live, work and be a dad in this new normal. If you’ve ever been through a divorce as a child or as a spouse, you know this is not an easy process, especially for the kids.
Our children look up to us to make the best choices we can. Add a divorce to the equation and it makes things more complex. I had to choose where to live, what job I was going to take, and who I was going to date. All of that and more! These choices were not easy, but I made the best choices I could for the benefit of the kids. They were already feeling confused, hurt and somewhat responsible for their parents’ split. I get it. My daughter Zoi was always affected by the divorce. It’s one of the most disappointing things that I have had to work through as a parent.
After losing Zoi to suicide in 2014, it was her older siblings and her friends that showed me the power of making choices. And believe me, you question a lot of your choices when you lose a child this way. I now know that I did the best I could for her.
Here’s the thing: I could have chosen to let Zoi’s death be an excuse to stop and focus only on myself, but that didn’t feel like the right thing to do. Instead, I chose to focus on her friends and my family – to find our pathway back to better days by asking one simple question of them, “How are you doing?” It often culminated in long conversations that ended in laughs instead of tears.
Even in the midst of immense struggle, we have options; we find ourselves making choices. We can choose to remain stuck or we can choose to move forward. Look, no one said that making choices was easy. Sometimes it’s easier to avoid making decisions. If you ever feel stuck, and unsure of what to do, think of ways that your choice will benefit others more than you, and that will be your best guide.