Mari Katherine Raftopoulos: The choices we make |

Mari Katherine Raftopoulos: The choices we make

Mari Katherine Raftopoulos

Mari Katherine Raftopoulos

Choices. We have so many in our everyday lives, from the clothes we wear to work every day, to the way we like our coffee in the morning, to how we spend our free time, and let's not even get started on dissecting the grocery store and the endless amounts of options for your cart.

At the end of the day, choices consume nearly our every minute.

Looking at it like this is very overwhelming, so much so that it is easy to stick to the norm out of the fear of uncertainty.

Oftentimes, all these choices can be our greatest hurdle. Sometimes it would be easier if there weren't so many. While we have our favorites, what makes life so incredible is that because we have so many choices to choose from, our favorites can change over time.

This is the beauty of fate, which I believe plays a hand in our choices. Not on which type of coffee we get in the morning but on a bigger scale, fate plays a hand in reminding us of which choices are best suited for the time in our lives.

Whether we like to believe it or not, even when it comes to rash decisions and spontaneous decisions, there is a reason that it came about even if you didn't have time to think about it. With each choice come the people that are affected.

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Fate or not, choices are multidimensional in the result as much as they are in the development.

At the end of each day, we chose how to spend it and how to enjoy it. Even if absurdities and hardships come in to the day, how we react, how we recover and how we get ready for the days ahead are all things we choose.

I look at my younger brother about to embark on his first big choice — college.

Looking back, I have always been the adventurous one of the group, and going to San Diego helped to establish the road I would take after and I am forever thankful for making that choice. I am looking forward to him setting out on his own path.

As I sifted through the thousands of pictures that my mom took of us, stashed in every open drawer and cabinet of the house, it truly is hard to believe that the time has come for his next step.

There are the classics and timeless photos, like us three kids raising havoc in the branding corral, Angelo with his push-up pop all over his face trotting around the neighborhood in his minor league baseball get-up, and the countless family photos from the ranch, Sunday mornings and weddings.

Not only have so many moments been captured in these photos, but so have our many choices, reminding me that even my lemonade stands and Barbie 4×4 imaginary taxi cab truly are a large contribution of who I am today.

It would take me weeks to organize all the pictures that my mother took, but it wasn't hard to find our family's story portrayed in these photos.

When there was no story, there was always a guaranteed laugh.

As my family and I rummaged through all the memories, we reconnected on our journey, all bringing us back and grounding us in a world of so many choices, reminding us to take a step back and remember our choices that have led to our present.

"It's like she knew," my dad said as we looked through all the photos, "like we would need these photos."

She knew, and now so do I, that in a world of so many choices, taking a step back is just as much of a choice as moving forward and can sometimes be just as beneficial, even if it's just an afternoon spent looking through childhood photos.

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