There are things that we can do automatically - the things we do everyday, the routines, the things that we can do with our eyes closed. The world might not need advisers, counselors and consultants if only we know exactly what to do with our shit. But, I can't afford any of them right now, so, I try to narrow down the questions that I'd ask myself when shit starts to get real.
1. Will I be proud to tell this to my grandchildren? I am always all ears whenever my grandparents would mention anything about the past. I wanted to know how they lived during the time when I did not exist yet. Our ancestors are our link to the past and technically, we are here because of them. I am not just grateful for their genes, I'm also curious as hell about their adventures and shenanigans. Knowing about them helps me understand myself somehow. Take playing guitar for example. None of my parents could play guitar, but I got crazy about it when I was 16. I always thought it was lame and cheesy, but the first time I strummed a guitar, I knew that I don't want to die without learning how to play it. Only when Grandpa shared about his brother did I begin to understand my instant obsession to play guitar. His brother was actually a country singer in our town. He's not a recording artist, not like that. In small towns, there are festivals, singing contests and programs and apparently, he and Grandpa would sometimes be invited to these festivals to perform. I'm amazed by the way Grandpa tells their story. He's got that proud, glittering eyes as he tries to remember their moments on stage. Just like me, Grandpa is not that good in playing guitar but he called himself the 'lead singer' just because he is older than his brother. Grandma on the other hand, despite being a hardcore disciplinarian, has got her own share of shenanigans. I was already in high school when I learned about how much of a prankster she was when she was young. She has a tough life; she is a farmer's daughter. But that does not mean she can't have fun once in a while. One story from her that I might never forget was that time she pretended to be cross-eyed while selling food to one customer. The customer returned (I forgot why, haha!) to their store moments after and was asking her mom, my great grandmother, where the cross-eyed girl went to. Great grandma insisted that she does not have a cross-eyed daughter, but the customer insisted that the girl was just there moments ago.
Just like Grandpa, Grandma was also proud of sharing that story with me. I couldn't actually believe it, but since she was the one telling the story, I did. I never heard stories like that when I was really young. Telling that story to me at a very young age might ruin her reputation, so, I'm glad she told me about it when I was at the age wherein I'm too old to copy it.
My (hilarious) conversations with my grandparents are a huge proof that a story can go a long way. I am in no position to judge them and the way they lived. I'm sure there are sad stories that they never want to tell me, but I really admire them for not having a hint of regret as they share bits of their past. If I grow old and look back at a decision that I made, I don't want to tell my grandchild/grandchildren that I deeply regret what I did.
2. Will I regret this when I'm on my deathbed? I'm sure you've read or heard about the top five things that people in their death bed usually regret. We are not sure when our lives would end. We could be in our 70's or 80's when we lie on our deathbed, or maybe 30's or 40's. But what if we had an accident or was suddenly diagnosed with a terminal disease? What if we won't have a lot of years to make up for what we did or did not do? Is there anything I wish I did or didn't do? This may sound too dramatic but it actually helps me a lot to say yes or no to something. I just picture myself on my deathbed with the current problem/options in my mind. If I think it would hurt a lot as I think about it on my deathbed, I simply won't do it. Even if that means people would look down on me or they would be mad at me. I would ask for their forgiveness and it's up to them if they would forgive me or not.
3. Will I hurt anyone if I do this? I don't usually hurt people on purpose. Not even insects. If a cockroach, ant or mosquito isn't doing anything to me, I try to leave it alone. Well, the young Cyndrel might be a little different because according to my sister, I was really BAD when I was young. She said I used to make babies cry just for the heck of it. But, in my defense, I grew up somehow! I'm not like that anymore. When I understood what it was like to suffer, to be in pain and to be crushed, I have learned 'compassion'. As much as possible, I don't want other people to get hurt or be involved in my stupid actions. So, if doing something crazy would put someone else's life, career or happiness in jeopardy, then I probably won't do it.
4. Will I help anyone if I do this? I'm no angel, but, helping is not only a job for angels, right? Humans can do this too, trust me. Sometimes, without even meaning to, you can help someone. Life is amazing like that! But, having that in mind as you make a decision, it actually adds weight. It's a win-win situation - you help someone and you feel good for them and for yourself! I know I've been quite selfish and egocentric for a long time, but, I guess it's never too late to change.
5. Will it kill me to do this? I'm talking about literal and metaphorical 'killing' here. If I know doing something would physically kill me, I'm not dumb enough to go through it. I've always been weak, and even if I wish I was as strong as Kuchiki Rukia, I just can't. I kinda know my physical limitations, so, before I see myself in a hospital bed, I make sure to stop and recharge first before going bankai crazy again. It's the same thing about the metaphorical killing. If I know that doing something is just going to crush my soul, I swear by the Gotei 13, I won't do it. If I'm not happy with it and if I know it won't lead me somewhere I would grow, it's just not worth it, it's not worth my time.
Sometimes, I would just literally flip a coin (and proudly tell people to do the same!) when I don't have much time to make a not-so-serious decision. Most people say you should just follow your instinct or gut feeling. Sometimes, I can get away with it, but there are life-changing decisions that you must take seriously. Maybe that's why some people go on retreats~ but if you don't have that much time to think about something, what do you usually ask yourself? How do you make decisions?