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Own Your Choices

By Antoine Rémillard, Grade 12
From the day you're born until the day you eventually pass away, you are exposed to millions, maybe even billions of choices. Some of these choices are as simple as choosing to snooze or not to snooze your alarm on Monday morning or even as easy as picking what color socks to wear that day.
However, there are also some difficult choices in life, and these can be seen as crossroads. The decisions you make at these crossroads can shape you as a person. As humans we are defined by our actions and our choices. People will choose to judge or praise you based on what you decide to do at these crossroads. But you may be wondering what to do when you encounter them? Let me tell you a little bit about my experiences with making difficult choices before answering that question.

Lately it seems I’ve had a lot more of these life-altering choices than usual. These choices I had to make felt like the first real adult choices of my life. Choosing what to do with my hockey career? Deciding where to go to university? Choosing what kind of life I want after university? These are all questions that I’ve had to juggle with in the past couple months. And let me tell you it's not easy.
I've had many, many sleepless nights reflecting on these questions. I've had multiple discussions with family, friends, mentors and my girlfriend on what direction I now want to go with my life. Without realizing it at first, I had these discussions because I was scared to make the wrong choice, so I kind of wanted them to choose for me.
It was only after talking to my godmother that I finally realized that none of it mattered. The only voice I should listen to is my own. The only person who knows what I want in life is me.
I can now proudly say that these decisions are all on me. And if it doesn’t work out, so be it. I will be able to look myself in the mirror and have no regrets knowing that I at least made the best choice I could at the time.

At our age we often think the choices we make will stick with us for the rest of our lives. We make it seem bigger than it is. Being afraid of making the wrong choice sometimes prevents us from making the right one. But all these choices are not set in stone. For example, the career choices we make at 17 years old when choosing what to study at university seems like they'll last forever, but in reality, you're allowed to fail, make mistakes and try different things until you find your passion and the thing that makes you happy.

So to answer the question from earlier, what should you do when you reach these certain crossroads? All I can tell you is to trust your guts and accept your choices, for better or worse. One of Britain's special operations regiments, commonly known as the Special Air Service or SAS, has a slogan that resonates with this message: “Who Dares Wins.”  It’s a slogan I was reminded of many times by my father when facing crossroads. To me this slogan means taking risks when faced with difficult choices, learning how to live in the uncomfortable in order to ultimately surpass your limits. Surpassing these limits will allow you to become your best self. It is only through risk taking that you will reach your true potential.

Let me leave you today with a couple words of inspiration: Dare to follow your dreams. Dare to challenge yourself. Dare to be different. Dare to fail. Dare to make difficult choices.