“Four things come back not: The spoken word; the sped arrow; time past and the neglected opportunity.” – Omar I Ibn al-Khattab, Caliph (AD 581-644)
The dawning of the New Year is traditionally an occasion of cause for reflection in most Western cultures. A so called beacon in the calendar to reappraise what came to pass and what one did during the past year and how one can improve things going forward into the New Year.
During the past year, one can reasonably assume that most of us in all possibility were faced with a number of choices and decisions to make. Essentially though, if one made the conscious decision to exercise a choice, one ran the risk of never getting the chance to repeat that choice again, should the outcome of the original choice be unsatisfactory.
This is cause for concern for anyone placed in the position of being able to exercise a choice. Perhaps the real problem been not the outcome of the choices that we make, but the fact that we do have a choice; a so called option to exercise in the first place. The difficulty with the exercising of choice, as one can begin to appreciate, is that the decision cuts both ways – With freedom of choice, comes the responsibility to accept the consequences of the choices one makes.
Furthermore, if one chooses to wait for the next best alternative instead of opting for the option currently in front of one, one runs the risk that the next option (should it be forthcoming of course), might not be to the same standard of the one given up!
Argued from that perspective, one is almost penned into a rather unappealing catch-22 situation.
This is all very well however one should also bear in mind the need to keep one’s choices in perspective. Essentially one’s existence in this life can be analysed in terms of the so called “Hierarchy of Needs,” as described by Maslow. 
The Primary Needs that must be fulfilled for existence as a human are first the Physiological Needs of food, water, sleep, etc. The second most important Needs, once the Primary Needs have been met, are the so called Safety Needs of security, health, a roof over one’s head etc.
If one is able to exercise reasonable choices to meet those two levels of needs (Primary and Safety), one can rest assured. Everything else above that, the Belonging, Esteem and Self-Actuation Needs are nothing more than superfluous and nice-to-haves.
In the light of this, perhaps the great King Solomon was right when he said that all is vanity and striving after wind and the same fate awaits us all. In a way, who can deny what he says as we try to hide from our mortality in the temporary pleasures of the flesh, in the endless cycle of eating, drinking, pursuing the opposite sex, grasping for vicarious glory in sport, and working for the legal tender? 
It almost puts things nicely in perspective. If your primary needs are met, count your blessings, hold your head up high and move on. Life might not be that bad after all. Happy New Year and all the best for 2014!
“The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon”, Edward Poynter, 1890 
1 – Maslow, A Motivation and personality. New York, NY: Harper, 1954
2 – Ron Wheeldon, Hunter’s Heaven, African Pilot, April 2004