If you could go back and do your life over, would you? I am not sure I would. There are some moments in my past where I wish I had known what I know now, but I realize that if I had made different choices or acted any differently, I would not be where I am today. I don’t know where I would be (either physically or emotionally), but I do know that who I am and what I have done with my life is a result of the all of moments I have experienced over the last 46 years – every last one of them, good and bad.
I went to the college I thought was perfect for me, and after a year and a half, decided it wasn’t so perfect after all. I ended up transferring to a school that was much better suited to me and my needs. Would I have recognized that if I had started there as a Freshman? I don’t know, but somehow I doubt I would have valued the experience as much if I didn’t have the first school for comparison.
I dated a guy for 2 years in college, and I was convinced we would be together forever, getting married and having a family and living happily ever after. When he broke up with me, I was devastated. But after a while, I realized that although I cared for him, I was more in love with being in a relationship than I was with him. And by losing him, I was able to focus on figuring out what I really wanted from a partner. I was able to be open to the possibility that a relationship didn’t have to look like what other people had – I didn’t need to have a boyfriend or husband to have love. I am glad I spent those 2 years with him, even with the pain it caused when the relationship ended. I learned a lot from the experience – during and after. And now I am living my “happily ever after” with a woman I might never have met if I had married that college sweetheart – he moved to Maine after med school!
I made the decision to only teach part time while I went back to grad school for my Masters’ degree. When I was ready to return to full time, the school where I had been working didn’t have a position for me to fill, so I had to look elsewhere to find a job. I was pretty upset that I would have to leave a school where I had taught for 9 years and where I envisioned myself teaching until retirement. If I had stayed full time to begin with, I might still be at that first school, or I might not. The reality is, though, that change is hard for me to initiate, so I probably never would have left. Since I had to find a new job, I widened my horizons and considered the possibility of moving to a new city all together. That opportunity led me to my current school, where I am much more appreciated, and to my current city, where I have made some friends that feel as close as family, and where I have lived now for 16 years – 7 more than that other school where I thought I would stay “forever”. So I guess deciding to work part time helped me get to where I am today.
So much of who we become and where we are in life is a result of lots of little decisions made along the way. The choices we face give us an opportunity to affect our destiny. Sometimes those choices are made for us, but often they are our own. Whatever kind of choice it is, no matter the outcome, I try to live my life with no regrets. Each choice we make affects the course of each day in our life and even when we aren’t happy with what happens to us, we can’t look back and wish we had done things differently. We can only look forward and dream of what will happen next. Without regrets.