I have been thinking about the choices that we make—and more specifically, choices that I have made and where they have led me. I will share some of these—big choices and little choices—as they have occurred in my own life and then share some more general thoughts about choices.
I started thinking about this a few weeks ago when I spent some time in New York going to some Broadway shows. Attending the theatre is one of my favorite things to do and something that I did regularly when I lived in New Jersey and miss now that I live in Kentucky. So when I can, I visit New York and New Jersey and go to as many shows as possible, usually with a friend with whom I did this when I lived in New Jersey. We go to a special booth that sells the tickets the day of the performance for half price. (They are still expensive, but this is much more affordable than paying the full price.) On this particular trip, we went to a matinee and an evening show on Saturday, seeing "Curtains," a musical that had received some Tony nominations last year, and "November," a play that stars Nathan Lane. Neither of these turned out to be a very good choice—Curtains was far from what I had hoped for and November was very disappointing, even with Nathan Lane. On Sunday, we saw "The Color Purple," a musical that was produced by Oprah Winfrey and was wonderful!!! Since we had initially planned to see a different show and made the decision to see The Color Purple at the last minute, this proved to be a very good choice!! When they announced the next week that The Color Purple will be closing soon, our choice to see it proved even better!
These, of course, are small choices, but they are what started me thinking about this topic. Larger choices in my life have had a greater impact. A few of these that come to mind are my choice to move to New Jersey in 1975—a place where I ending up living and developing a life and having a very fulfilling 25 years at Montclair State University. My choice to get a PhD in Educational Psychology was important—that degree led me to having some fabulous experiences as a psychologist and enriching my music therapy work and understanding of research immeasurably. My choice to accept Kenneth Bruscia’s invitation to edit a book on music therapy research, which led to Music Therapy Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives (1995) and Music Therapy Research, 2nd Edition (2005) and to opportunities to present about and work with people on music therapy research, was important. I chose to move to Louisville, Kentucky, in 2000, and this has opened up new opportunities. And I chose to become involved with international music therapy and with Voices, which also led to many wonderful experiences!
Of course, these are only some of the choices in my life. And my choices are mine—others have made their own choices. I hope that those who are reading this will spend a few minutes thinking about the choices that they have made and where these choices have led.
One of the choices that others may make that came to my mind is whether to write for Voices. Some people have chosen to write columns for the main issues or for Country of the Month, contributions to Moderated Discussions, and Interviews. Some of these choices have opened up new lines of thinking, connected people with others with similar interests, and stimulated discussion and sometimes controversy. Some people write not completely by their own choice—my students and students from some other universities are required to contribute to the Moderated Discussions as a course requirement, although of course they get to choose their topics. For the past year or so, I have been involved with Leslie Bunt with Interviews for Voices. We would like to have interviews on a variety of topics and have posted a notice on the Voices main page inviting people to submit ideas for interviews. In line with the topic of this column, I hope that some people will make choices to interview someone and have the interview published in Voices. (It would be a good idea to let either Leslie Bunt or me know of your plans.) Just as my choice to be involved with Voices and some of the other choices that I have spoken of have had positive ramifications in my life, this choice could open up new avenues for those who are involved.
I have enjoyed this opportunity to reflect on choices in my life. It reminds me of an earlier column that I wrote, titled "On Powerlessness"), in which I spoke of times that we cannot control events—these might be regarded as times in which our choices don’t impact the events or choices to accept what has to be. The choices considered in this column are choices to influence what is and what happens in our lives, often choices to take control of the direction of our lives.
Wheeler, Barbara (2008). Choices. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved May 15, 2013, from http://testvoices.uib.no/?q=colwheeler100308