While reading our peanut butter jar recently, my husband teased me about being a “Choosy Mom.” How do they find “Choosy Moms,” he wondered. “Do they ask the husbands?”

It’s true. I am selective. But that’s not always a bad thing. After all, I pointed out, I chose him.

In reality, much of what happens in our lives is based on the choices we make. Sure, sometimes things happen to us or around us. But it’s how we respond and react that makes all the difference. Choice is crucial.

Recently, my mind has been a mixed up, muddled mess. The stress of an overload at work and a lot of personal stuff weighing heavily has rendered me unable to think clearly. As a result, it has been very hard to write anything for weeks.

For the past few weeks I have allowed my mind to wander to the darker, sadder parts of my psyche. Now it’s time to move on. I can chalk up the hard parts to lessons learned – sometimes tough ones. Looking back is only productive if you can learn something from the view. Otherwise, it’s much healthier to look forward.

We can plan things out carefully, but our plans seldom go the way we want them to. So we need to learn to swerve and sidestep and make alternate plans. But we need to keep moving. Without choice and change and purpose, we are adrift and at the whim of others’ choices.

I have raced to embrace some opportunities, ignored some, and pushed others away. I have pursued some relationships, allowed some to just happen, and let others drift into oblivion. I have planned, created, and sustained a life with family and friends. Usually it works, but not always.

Maybe it’s the losses in life that have dragged me down recently. Regret.

I am in a job that is just loaded with emotional stress and psychological baggage. It is a choice I made, but in reality this was a rebound career move following a wrenching break-up from my previous position, and I now feel ready to move on to a more fulfilling occupational relationship.

Some people are simply gone and will never come back. That is the harsh reality. Those losses are enormously challenging to face. The questions have been haunting me: Did I say and do the right things for them? Was I a good enough friend or niece when I had the chance? Did they feel cared for and loved?

There are no do-overs. Real life has no second takes and rarely provides rehearsal time. I have been knocked down before and have chosen to get up, brush off the bruises, and move on. It’s time to do it again.

So I am making a pledge (mostly to myself, but putting it in writing like this will hold me more accountable). I will discipline myself to make better choices and spend my time in purposeful pursuits and the enjoyment of family and friends. Starting today, I choose to manage my life again, seek healthier opportunities, and be more kind and helpful to others while I can.

It’s all about choice.