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When I was four years old my dad signed me up for football, a sport I knew nothing about at the time. I still remember the first practice as I reminisce on the autumn sky above the plain grass field on the first day of practice. That first practice would be the first of many challenges I would face that day. As I returned home after a hard day of conditioning I cried to my dad about quitting the team on day one. This would be the first step I took in making life-altering decisions, all at the age of four.

For those wondering, no I didn’t quit the team that night. I would continue to play football until I was in ninth grade. However, that night would be the first time in my life I would have to choose where I would go. My dad sat me down and said to me that “it was too early to give up and only I can dictate where my life goes if I quit on my first day”. I would carry those words for the rest of my life. 

What’s the right choice?

To this very day, I’ve had to make choices that would affect my life for years to come. I constantly wonder if the choices I made were the right ones and if I ever found what I chose. Did I make the right choice? It’s a thought in my mind every day. What if it wasn’t the right choice? What if I made a mistake? I always wondered if it was my own head or if it was the truth hitting me to the ground. 

Think back to when you had to choose between two things? How did it make you feel? How do you feel now that it’s over? Did you ever make the right choice? These questions all came to me recently after leaving one of my jobs to continue my passion for journalism. I had been at Applebee’s for a year and made great connections with co-workers who will forever be my friends. Leaving and saying goodbye will always be the hardest decision for me. I sat down and looked deep into who I was, I had undergone mental warfare to say goodbye to a job I was comfortable at. 

The tale of two choices

In times like that, I learned the choice I made would only matter if it was true to me. No one else would reach out to help me make this choice. I had to be decisive in my feelings and what I know to be true. However, in that defining moment of mental warfare, it came to me. The two tales of a decision. These two tales being I either trust myself and dictate where my life goes or rely on and trust the people around me to make the choice. 

What’s important to remember with this is to act as your feelings guide. How you feel and what you know isn’t inherently bad or even the cause of your demise. What your feelings push you to is the truth. At the end of the day, it’s your decision to trust yourself or trust others around you to push you forward. To this day I can’t say I ever found what works best for me.

Never did I imagine I would be where I’m at today due to this ideology. If I had done as I wanted to do so many years ago when I was four, I would have quit on my first go. I would have quit football which fuels my passion for sports, I would have quit on my jobs, I would have quit on myself.

Believe it or not, I actually would have quit The Express. On my first day of online class, I was uncomfortable and often questioned if I belonged. Thinking back on that day if it weren’t for my dad’s words I wouldn’t be in The Express.

It’s one of the many decisions I came out of with a clear conscience. I knew I made the right choice to stay in The Express and keep writing. But what about all the times I made a choice and wondered if I was wrong.

A wrong decision or learning experience?

I’m sure we all look back when we made a choice and it may not have felt like the correct one? I know I’m not alone in saying those choices made me learn from my past and defined my growth.

Those times I had to choose when I would move forward and have to leave something behind makes me wonder if I was wrong. Was I wrong for leaving something that wasn’t beneficial to me? What was the cost of this choice? Did the people I hurt or hurt me amount to how much I’ve grown as a person? If I’m being honest, I don’t exactly know. It’s like looking down a road that’s foggy, looking forward is the only option but the effects of moving forward will come.

All I know is the choices that we make that leave us feeling uncomfortable are the best learning moments. It’s in those moments where we learn that what we choose will dictate where we go. That’s what I know for sure, be true in your choices and dictate where you want to go. The truth will always present itself when you’re facing the toughest decisions and as long as it was for you then you made the right choice. As the late Kobe Bryant once said 

“It’s the only thing we can control. You are responsible for how people remember you- or don’t. So don’t take it lightly.”

These are things you and even myself should never forget as we are the ones who make choices. We are the reason we succeed. We are special because we are meant for the moment that is upon us.

C.j Flores is a staff writer for The Express. Follow him @Cj_mcanfores.

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