“In life, unlike chess, life continues after checkmate.” Isaac Asimov.

Last night was a checkmate-time for me and the “game” of life continued afterward. Last night, someone I love very much and I came to a crossroad. I made a decision, a decision that could be life-changing, without a lot of angst. In fact, the part of me that sometimes watches myself was surprised, even proud. It was a decision forged in a lifetime of checkmates where life went on after the last move was made and the decision honed. Last night I had to decide which life path I would take: one with struggle or one with self-love. One that bent the rules in ways that didn’t work for me, or one that was totally filled with integrity.

Put that way it seems so easy. But in the past it was not. In the past it has been rarely as clear-cut as the words describe. Why? Because in the past I would have denied what was happening, or minimized its meaning or its possible impact, or wait to talk about it until the lesson was gone. I would have done anything other than face the fear that comes with those checkmate decisions.

For me integrity is based on my values, not anyone else’s. Sometimes those values match those around me and sometimes they do not. Sometimes I would be judged to have higher standards than most, and sometimes I would not.

What I discovered about myself last night is that no amount of denial or excuses on my part could make it okay to step out of those boundaries. There certainly have been times in my life where my level of integrity frankly sucked; but no longer. Not living by my values, my self-imposed boundaries, regardless of the risks, is too painful to bear. So, when I came to the crossroad last night, I knew what the decision was, I just didn’t know, and still don’t know, what it might cost me.

I know I must let the other, one of my loved ones, decide for himself which road he will take. As his chess pieces move across the board of life, they must play their own game and create their own checkmate. Letting them make their own choices, as they must, is the hard part for me.

In this life, I have been continually faced with life changing decisions, incredible opportunities to love, have fun and joy at an unprecedented level, and experience self-improvement that goes on and on. Maybe some part of me knew this was what was waiting for me in my future and so urged me to create these missives. Why? Because each day I must look, examine, stay awake, stand in love and in integrity—I won’t have it any other way.