We went to the Independence Bowl on Sunday to see Bama play the Colorado Buffaloes. As people around us found their seats, one of our neighbors was most displeased with his seats: "I ordered these tickets online within 15 minutes of the time they went on sale, and the website said I'd get the best available!! THIS was the best available that soon after tickets went on sale?!?" Everyone around us laughed and agreed that we had all done the same thing - gotten the Best Available.
They weren't the greatest seats, to be sure, near the top of the stadium, and at the far end of the upper tier of seats. Randy teased that he'd start using that as his excuse... sorry these flowers are wilted, honey, but they were the best available! Heh-heh.
But you know what? The weather was good, the people around us were all friendly and enthusiastic Bama fans, and Bama won the game, so I think there wasn't anything any of us would have changed by the end of the evening. The Best Available really wasn't that bad at all.
So that got me thinking, here on the first day of this new year: How would our outlook on life change if we adopted Best Available as our philosophy of life?
Think about it: for most of our lives, we make choices without ever really knowing if we're making the correct ones. Choices both big and small. Paper or plastic? Democrat or Republican? Do I...pick this major, quit that job, marry this person, move to that city, eat this box of chocolates, take that trip? Sometimes we know right away if we made the right choice (I can't believe I ate the whole thing!), but oftentimes we don't know until months or even years later whether or not we've chosen wisely.
We can worry, second-guess ourselves, worry, fret, then worry some more - but frequently, the passage of time is the only judge.
How does Best Available fit into all this worrying? It doesn't, and that's the point.
When we make a choice, a decision, the Best Available philosophy tells us we need to examine the situation, weigh our options, then make the best decision we can, based on everything we know at that moment.
And then let it go, and see where it takes us. That's the hard part!
When we moved to Paris in 1990, it was with every intention of reopening the Wendy's in Paris. We examined, researched, weighed options, and made our choice. Our Best Available decision was to pack up the babies, the schnauzer, and everything we owned that would fit into a 25 foot Ryder rent truck, and hit the road back to Texas. When the Wendy's thing didn't work out quite like we planned, we swallowed hard, then looked around to see where our decision was taking us.
It took us to a really nice life. Certainly, there have been bumps and bruises, and even some pretty deep cuts, along the way, but ultimately, we can look back and see how well it all worked out.
Best Available doesn't mean settling. It doesn't mean just not making any decision and lollygagging around, waiting to see how it all works out.
It DOES mean doing your research. Your due-diligence. Asking for advice. Seeking a mentor. Praying.
Can a Best Available decision turn out badly? Surely it can. A bad job. A harmful relationship. The wrong...box of chocolates. But in just about every situation, even if the choice is a bad one, if we can LEARN from it, then nothing that happened was in vain.
So. Best Available. Do your homework, swallow hard, and make your decision.
Because even if your seats aren't all that good, you'll still be in the arena for a terrific show.