Choose Your Own Adventure

As a kid I read books from a series called Choose Your Own Adventure. In the books, you’d come to a decision point, and the book would offer you some relevant choices:

To fight the ninja, turn to page 48.

To scream and run away, turn to page 92.

With all the uncertainty, chaos, and change happening right now, I’ve been thinking a lot about which pages I’m going to pick.

“The Worst Day of Your Life”

To live with dark thoughts, turn to page 77.

To get better, turn to page 30.

In 2019, my mental health sucked.

Depression isn’t something I’m sure how to talk about. What I now know is there are a lot of virtual tools to get one-on-one therapy. (I don’t even have to leave the house!) Getting help helps.

“River of No Return”

To buy a house and continue living in Colorado, turn to page 54.

To throw out stable plans and wing it, turn to page 5.

My wife and I moved to Colorado from Indiana seven years ago. As much as we love our friends and family there, it was time for us to move on.

We both have virtual jobs where we can work from anywhere, so we decided to take our band on the road. We put our stuff into storage, and the plan for the next year is traveling across the United States, staying in cities for a week to a month. Right now we’re in Boise, Idaho. Next stop is Missoula, Montana.

It’s kind of a crazy plan that has already changed a hundred times, but we’re going to make it work for us.

“Trouble on Planet Earth”

To let zombies eat your face, turn to page 34.

To let vampires eat your face, turn to page 102.

There are too many times in life where the choices we are presented with are all terrible. Shouldn’t at least one of the choices be good? The Coronavirus pandemic is forcing a lot of “lesser of two evil” type choices, and all of us feel the stress related to those choices.

My goal is to not take out my own stress on others, and do my best to alleviate others’ stress if I can. It’s so easy for me to lose control of my emotions when I’m feeling uncertain; however, I know I can reign in negativity if I put the proper attention and focus on how I’m communicating.

“You Are a Superstar”

To have a good cry, turn to page 8.

To survive another day, turn to page 51.

To solve all the problems, turn to page 99.

Sometimes we need help. Sometimes we only have the capacity to take care of ourselves. Sometimes we are able to help others.

All of these adventures are different, not less.

I used to cheat at the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I would make sure I went through every permutation of storylines; I wanted to choose every adventure.

My hope for the next months is to choose all the adventures in front of me:

  • Have the capacity, energy, and empathy to help others navigate through crisis.
  • Take care of myself so that others don’t have to.
  • Continue to receive help through therapy.
  • And, of course, fight the ninja.

“Return of the Ninja”

To share your adventure, comment below.

To ask for help, email

9 Replies to “Choose Your Own Adventure”

  1. D365 drives people crazy after some time, but really this is a super interesting crazy.


  2. Thank you, Joel, for being who you are…one of the best sons-in-law ever!


  3. Joel, another wonderful / surprising / enlightening side of you…!!!


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