I don’t know how many of you know the “Never-ending Story” by Michael Ende. The original (“Die Unendliche Geschichte”) is considered a classic German children’s novel, one I really loved reading when I was young. I recently rediscovered it reading it to my oldest one as bedtime story. Most of the story takes place in “Phantasia”, the land of stories. Beside the gripping story there is a lot of food for thought hidden inside, most of it probably going unnoticed by the younger readers.

One of the strange places in Phantasia is the “temple of 1000 doors”, a sort of maze consisting of an endless array of rooms with doors leading to more rooms with doors. Every door in Phantasia can temporarily be an entrance to the temple, any of the doors inside could lead outside again – if you open it for the right reason. The trick is that – once inside – you can only escape it by finding a wish, coming right from your heart. You need to choose the doors that by their shape, colour or material remind you of your wish. If you choose rightly, after a couple of doors you are outside, in a place that will bring you closer to your wish. If you cannot find a true wish, or do not manage to choose the right doors, you will wander the maze forever.

How often are we stuck inside this maze without even realising it? That was the question that floated in my mind yesterday late in the evening. How many of our daily choices lead nowhere, only to more choices? And how many of them come from a true wish?

And how many of the choices we take lightly turn out to be big ones when looking back? Things we discarded with a quick shaking of the head, could they have changed our lives? For the better or the worse?

And what about my choices? Do I regret any of them? (The big ones, not the ones about which pizza to choose for dinner.)

I don’t really know the answer to the first two questions. But strangely enough, when pondering about the third one, the answer was no. As far as I can say today, the big choices where good ones (apart from some not so great pizzas). There is no point in my life that I look back to and say “I should have (not) done this”. Of course I did things I am not so proud of now, and I would do a lot of things differently today, act more kindly or more brave. But looking at the crossroads of my life so far, I am happy that I took the turns I did.

Which probably means I am happy with the life I am living.

Which I am.

(And no, it probably is no coincidence that these thoughts came up at the end of the year… It is a (bad?) habit to reflect on your life in December.

By the way: Happy New Year, when it comes!)