On Making Decisions and Having Regrets
I don’t know what I’m doing.
How many times in the past two years have I said this or some variation of it? How many times in the past two years have I felt like I made mistakes or I regret the decisions that I made? Too many.
I don’t believe that cheesy line about how there really are no regrets in life, just adventures. That’s not true. We always regret. We always wish for change and for newness—for the other choice. Especially when the road we’ve chosen seems harder than we anticipated. Maybe this is a really cynical view to hold. I’m always up for an adventure, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have regrets.
Here are a few things I sometimes regret:
· Going to divinity school instead of library science school
· Studying religion in grad school instead of history
· Working in nonprofit
· Becoming an event planner
· Taking my current job
· Not taking on more internships in college
· Not networking enough
· Not moving when I had the chance
The list goes on and on and on. And it varies from day to day. Most days I’m glad I went to divinity school. It’s a weird choice, sure, I know that, but I’m a better person for it. And I’ve never once regretted the things I learned there.
Most days I don’t regret any of that stuff. Some days I regret other stuff. Smaller stuff. Like not saying I’m sorry to my partner before I leave home in the morning if we had a fight the night before. Like waiting too long to do my laundry and I having to wear smelly workout clothes to the gym (don’t pretend you’ve never done that). Like telling myself in the morning before I leave for work that I’m not that hungry, I don’t need to take a big lunch, and then feeling like I’m starving three hours later.
I don’t want to regret things, but sometimes I do. I don’t think we can ever really live life without regrets. At least small ones. My current regret is my job. I like my job, for the most part. But it’s in the wrong place. Before I got the job, my partner and I were talking seriously about leaving Nashville and heading a little closer towards home, a little closer to our families. But then I was offered my job. It is a good job. It has great benefits. It’s what I had been working so hard towards. How could I say no? How could I turn it down?
So I took it, and a year later we are still thinking about moving. Do I quit my job? It’s a question that isn’t as simple as it sounds. I work as an event planner and the events I’m currently planning are in 2018 and 2019. In other words, I’m supposed to be in it for the long haul.
It’s a weird place to be, trapped in a job that you only kind of like and trapped in a city that feels less and less like home every day.
When I was searching for a job I felt certain that when I got it I would feel like I was whole, like I knew what I was doing. Like all my regrets about moving or not moving would disappear. I thought I would have everything under control and life would magically work itself out. But life never magically works itself out. It takes hard work and tough decisions. Life is full of regrets, some small, some big. It’s my choice if I let those regrets rule my life. It’s my choice to spend time looking behind instead of ahead. I don’t know where I’m going next. I don’t know if I’ll make the right decisions. But maybe that is okay. Maybe there are no such things as a right or wrong decision. Maybe there are just… decisions.
[Photo by Juliette Kibodeaux.]