Life Changing Decisions

We’ve all been there before. A decision we made which, with hindsight, was something that we would gladly change, should physicists stop playing particle marbles at CERN and really put their minds to inventing reliable time travel. It can’t be that difficult, Marty McFly was doing it in the 1980s.

Of course, such decisions could actually have been the result of inaction; the fear of failure or of change causing a paralysis of decisive thought. It just seemed easier to keep things as they are. Why take a chance?

Whether decisions seem more trivial or involve major shifts in circumstance, the mechanics behind our thought processes are essentially the same. It’s about balancing risk versus reward. The only difference between each of us and the paths we take in life are ultimately how accurately we judge that balance.

Maybe you still think about that partner you once had, the ‘one that got away’. If you’d have done things differently, who’s to say that you wouldn’t now be living in family bliss in a converted barn in the countryside? Although possibly you may actually have had a lucky escape from marital strife and a son who makes Bart Simpson look well-adjusted.

Alternatively you may look back on your younger days and wish that you had travelled more. You’ve always wanted the hassle of bringing back an impulse buy didgerdoo through customs, trying not to look guilty as they check it for concealed drugs. You know there’s nothing in there, but you feel embarrassed that you’ve fallen for such a tourist trap and if they ask you to play it, you know that you can only make farting noises at best.

How many times have you heard someone you know wishing aloud that they had studied harder at school or university? Sure, they passed the drink-a-yard-of-ale challenge in the rugby team, but that trip to hospital caused a missed exam. And how often has a colleague at work been surreptitiously scanning the recruitment ads whilst the boss is out, dismayed that he has chosen to work at such a terrible company?

Well I can identify with all of these scenarios. Having taken what I perceived to be the easy way out for much of my younger years, I reached an epiphany of sorts in my late 20s. It was then that I took the decision to attempt a career in the advertising world. And when I realised after five years that it was really not what I wanted to do, I embarked on two years of home study to update my old psychology degree.

Which leads to me on to where I am now, commencing study of an MSc in Forensic Psychology, whilst still clinging on to an income from advertising, working part-time. Many people have told me that they could never go back to studying in their 30s. It’s far too scary a thought. I responded by saying that staying in a job I hate, that offers me few challenges or variation, and in an industry with a high percentage of incompetent fools is a much greater fear to me personally.

I would much rather make sacrifices and push myself to achieve something that I can be proud of, that will ultimately fascinate me and lead to a fulfilling life. Sure, I can earn good money in advertising sales, but that’s all it is. Hell, you can earn over £40,000 driving a train, but I can’t think of anything more tedious.

Money is largely irrelevant, as long as the bills are paid. You can’t put a price on happiness and contentment. The 30s is not too old to make life changing decisions. It’s not even halfway through a working life. My goal in life is to be able to look back on my life at 70 years old, knowing that I experienced a rich, interesting and varied life. No regrets.

18 thoughts on “Life Changing Decisions

  1. Excellent post. Don’t think I really have much else to say ..

    • A 21 year old girl on my course looked shocked when I told her how old I was. She thought I was about 28 (which is a good thing!). Then she said: “Well, it’s good that you’re still doing things like this”, like I was a senior citizen! 🙂

  2. Well done! I had similar thoughts just days ago – why keep on doing something you hate when you’re here only this once? Then I came across this in a poem by Rilke:

    “You have not grown old, and it is not too late
    to dive into your increasing depths
    where life calmly gives out its own secret.”

    Good luck with the studying!

  3. Did you get her number? She sounds like a good candidate for one of your bad date posts. You could take her to a nice buffet for dinner (@4:30) and then to bingo or something.

  4. Kudos to you. I sort of changed careers, from Finance to IT, in my ………… hmmmmmmmmm….. I’ve forgotten.

    There is nothing worse than not enjoying what you do each day, given we spend more awake time with our go-workers than we do with our families. We have to like what we do, otherwise it is a recipe for disaster I think.

    Best wishes for your studies and I am sure you will do marvellously! Pity you can’t write about your cases once you are qualified – but perhaps a book for a British Criminal Minds series will eventuate! LOL

  5. This is a wonderful blog with a really resonant message. I love how you wrote that ‘You can’t put a price on happiness and contentment’- it was really something I needed to read today. I’d like to say that I’ve gone through life with no regrets, but unfortunately there are almost too many to count. I just need to make sure that these don’t hold me back and that I persue any dream, no matter how frivolous, because there’s always another day. It is just a shame about the money and paying the bills, but that’s just the society we live in… I hope one day I can look back on my life and think along the same lines that you hope for, too. And it’s never too late to go to college/University! I hope one day I can go back and do a postgraduate degree, but we’ll see 🙂

    • Thank you too for your comment. I was a bit worried that I may come across as pretentious, when my thoughts were in fact honest and from the heart. But the positive comments above bear testament to the post being taken the right way, which is great. 🙂

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