Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – July 27, 2004
Is This A Good Choice?
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – July 27, 2004 – The journey through life is filled with the “known” and the “unknown” – probabilities and certainties. Good choices and bad ones, regret and joy. We learn from trial and error and from the foundation of knowledge we build during the everyday process of living.
Self-help books are full of suggestions about how to live a healthy, positive and constructive life. This begs the question, “Why do so many people continue to make decisions that aren’t good for them. I can only comment on my own life with any degree of accuracy and on the lives of others who are close to me, who have sought out my advice, from time to time.
Human beings make decisions for any number of reasons. If this information was distilled down to its finest form, some interesting points would emerge. At times, we know the choice we’re about to make is a bad one, and we go ahead and make it anyway.
If I think back over decisions I’ve made, some of them positive, and others negative, I can see my reasoning with absolute clarity. I know I’ve learned from my mistakes. Unfortunately not always on the first go round. The positive thing is that the mistakes and miscalculations haven’t stopped me from taking intelligent risks. I was thinking recently about what has driven me to make the choices I’ve made in my life, and the ones I continue to make. I was looking for a common thread.
These are some of my significant choices followed by the reasons I made them, as accurately as I can recall. I’m starting with the things over which I had significant control, not the ones where parental influence tipped the scales in their favour.
Attending the University Of Waterloo:
They wanted me & accepted me into a residence on campus.
A very good school with a strong arts program.
Relatively close to my family home – 2.5 hours.
Friends also attending the same school.
Fear of going farther afield.
My brother Eric was also planning to attend the same campus.
A small town environment – not a big city like Toronto. It was a manageable transition and it was affordable.
Taking A Four Year Honours Arts Degree:
Strong skills in English, writing, research.
A good basis for a law degree (my mothers dream for me – not mine).
Secretly afraid I wasn’t smart enough to succeed in any other stream.
Someone picked me and I was flattered to be accepted and wanted.
Afraid to be alone.
Disliked being alone. I felt I “belonged” when I had a partner – (what a sweet little idiot I was then).
Believed I couldn’t survive on my own (I know differently now – big time).
Need – I had to have income to pay bills and repay student loans.
A belief that I couldn’t have more.
Fear – not being good enough or smart enough.
A degree of laziness – lack of initiative to seek more.
Fate – an opportunity offered even if it wasn’t quite right – it let me off the hook.
What else could I do. Resigned to the things that came my way. Better the devil you know.
Fatigue – a sense of being overwhelmed.
Buying Real Estate:
Oh – I always “got” this one.
Understood the economic value of owning instead of renting and the good sense it made for me as a woman to own property.
Made this decision in spite of the accompanying fear.
Always -bought well and sold well. Unfortunately, I made the decision to sell, instead of maintaining my personal real estate, when I was in a relationship. BIG MISTALE LADIES – I would never do that again. It’s called “learning”.
Have improved my current property with intelligent renovations and have built superb equity.
I have a beautiful home, in a great location, where I feel safe and enjoy a sense of community.
I enjoy my home everyday.
My home is part of my long-term financial planning.
I need to look seriously at buying an income property.
I have my moments of liberal spending, and I still have way too much “stuff”, but overall I’m incredibly responsible fiscally.
My over-riding money belief is still one of lack and impending calamity, but I’ve come a long way in recent years and am only getting better.
Fear of not having enough and not being able to provide for myself.
Most of my financial choices are very solid but I’m still lazy when it comes to understanding money. This probably won’t change.
Health, Nutrition and Fitness:
I have to say this is my greatest struggle.
My choices in this area of my life are still problematic.
I eat well in general but the whole “exercise thing” seems too big for me right now. This in itself is a daily choice.
Fatigue and lack of quality sleep are issues – but of course – that’s an excuse.
Fear that I can’t succeed is a factor, strangely enough, as it has been in so many other area of my life.
So, with personal and professional decisions and choices – my common thread has been and continues to be fear – driven by anxiety and the anticipation of disasters, most of which never happen. The good news is that I’m more aware of what drives or hampers me than I’ve ever been, and still at work on changing the things that cause me stress and unhappiness. Each day I try to remember to look at the decisions I’m making and simply ask myself – “Is this a good choice for me?”