Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Choices, choices.

I intend on following this up with a theological blog on the Easter narrative, for no particular reason other than that's my next train of thought. Choo-choo.

The last week or three I have been thinking a lot about choices, and a little bit about fighting, or choosing not to. Which is, again, a choice. Last year I wrote about how few regrets I have, though lately I have been reconsidering that. It started a few Fridays ago when I went to the SACE Art Show, and I realised how much time and talent I wasted pursuing things that didn't captivate me the same way that creating pretty much anything does. Unfortunately I love cutting up bits of paper and fabric and anything else you can think of. I say unfortunately because no one else in my family is a fan of the mess I make. I digress.

I will be honest. I have made some really weird, and let's face it, stupid, choices that haven't always been well thought through, or have been and the easiest option has been taken, forgetting all about the road less travelled. In some cases, like travelling to India by myself, those choices have been challenging and rewarding. In other cases, like taking on jobs I knew I hated instead of waiting for better options, those choices have not been well thought through.

What I have discovered though are two things about my choices. Firstly, I almost always think about other people first, which is sometimes good, but mostly a terrible decision. No one else gets to live your life other than you, so why choose someone else, or their ideas or ideologies over your own? Even though it's rhetorical, I do have an answer. It's because I'm a people pleaser, and at the end of the day I have some twisted priorities, or at least I have. I am easily guilt tripped, I tend to have a saviour complex and I hate disappointing people. As I've got a little older, I have became a little wiser, but not by much.

Secondly, I think my choices, almost all of them, would have still led me to this life which I'm now living. When you think about changing time, a la Back to the Future, we don't often take into account that what is right for us isn't always right for the people around us. My first big decision, which was which high school I would go to, was actually a really hard choice. In the end I chose my school because they had a good drama program and I already had some of the uniform. This was not a good
reason to choose going there, not really, and I still went anyway. I probably would have been a lot happier with the few friends I had going to the other choice of school.

Other than choosing friends, and some unfortunate boyfriend experiences, my life was pretty sweet until I had to make some choices about moving out of home, and helping fund my way through a uni degree that I somewhat now regret. I will say one thing though. Other people's choices probably changed my destiny and here is why.

I had applied for two jobs at some boarding schools and I was led to believe that I had one. Wrong. On Christmas Eve they phoned and said they gave the job to someone else. So, that meant I had to find a few flat and find a new job. On Christmas Eve. (I tend to have quite dramatic Christmas festival holidays.) So, on a whim I typed 'youth work' into the CareeOne search page, when it was still actually good, and found a job which I was eventually awarded, at Port Adelaide UC. Which is, as everyone knows, where I met Stephen.
This is what I signed up for?! (Actually, probably one of the best days of my life)
Would I have met him anywhere else though? He went to Magill, and I only had two subjects there the year before, and we didn't have the same majors. Stephen and Narelle were running the youth group until I was appointed, and I remember everything about the first day we met, including what he was wearing, and the fact that although he was pretty good looking, he was way too young for me, which he isn't actually (two years is nothing really).  There is a lot more to the story than that, including another two years, some teaching contracts, missed opportunities and other people just generally being in the way, but you get the idea, a whole bunch of choices led to something good.

Back to what I was saying though.

If I have regrets, and I do have some, I would say the majority of them are about how I have treated people, or let people treat me. I have been a horrible friend at times. I was never really a great girlfriend (okay, maybe there is an exception there for my personal Harry Potter), I gave too much weight and thought to other people's beliefs, ideas and opinions. The thing is, that... well, making amends is often a fruitless and thankless exercise. Sometimes karma has played a part in making up for me being nasty to someone, that is if you believe in karma, which I don't. Sometimes you make amends only to find out all the things about a friendship that were bad enough to ruin it then, were bad enough to ruin it now. Sometimes you have Subway cookies with someone after being really nice to them and they say things like 'So-and-so would be so angry I am talking to you,' so consider yourself unlucky types of conversations. Sometimes you realise that no matter what you do, whatever you did in the first place was unforgivable enough for that person to never want you back in their life in any way, shape or form.

On the other hand.
It's okay to not fight anymore. Because, walking away is sometimes, really, the best option. At our wedding, my two friends spoke about how I was a fighter and a tough cookie. Sometimes being a tough cookie is less about being on the defensive, and more about letting whatever it is wash away. I have walked away from people, places and situations. I have few regrets about that. After going on stress leave almost two years ago, I have been reminded time and time again that I could have fought my reasonably forced resignation and gone onto the Work Cover scheme. It was not worth the fight, even if I am letting a whole bunch of people down who depend on other people's stress claims to help build a case against an employer. I don't have regrets now about that because I was unwell enough as it was, let alone having to fight against a self insured employer. Often in my volunteering life I hear of people not getting along and one party choosing to work away from the other. This is sometimes a good option, and we don't give people like that enough credit.

All of my choices have led me to where I am, right now. I am not entirely happy with my career choice, but I like my job, and I like my life, and my husband, and my cat and being a Guide. I like enough about my life to accept the bad choices with the good, because, well, they were worth it. Yes, really.