The Plans We Make
The other day Greg posted a meme that said:
My entire life can be summed up in one sentence...
Well, that didn't go as planned.
When I saw that I laughed because nothing could be truer. Did your life turn out the way you thought it would? Mine didn't.
When I was a kid, I received scholarships to my choice of prestigious universities known for their stellar arts program. I also had a mentor (a well known artist in advertising) who was happy to make introductions to get me in front of the right people. After uni, I'd hire on at one of the big cheese agencies in town. There was one on the very same block as our apartment building. It was kismet!
I had a good paying job at a newspaper and they had just offered me a promotion. Scholarships in one hand and raises in the other, a gorgeous boyfriend in the middle. Then Greg dropped a bombshell on me.
He was offered a chance to work at a chemical plant in Texas for double the pay he was making in Chicago. Would I come with him?
His life hadn't worked out the way he planned either, (he'd been studying space science) but he knew a great opportunity when he saw one.
It was one of those pivotal moments in life when turning in either direction would change your life in ways you never expected.
I wasn't interested in getting married. I loved working. I loved learning. I was on my way to the big time. I knew it. All the pieces were in place. All I had to do was say yes.
I remember giving it a lot of thought. Logic said I'd be stupid to bet on a wild card. I had a sure thing right in my hands.
Despite the money, the opportunities, and the familiarity with the life I had in Chicago, I said no.
I pointed myself south and followed Greg to Texas where we knew no one, had nothing, and owed everyone.
Anyone else with an ounce of brains would've been scared, but when you're young everything is possible.
Who knows if my life would've been any better in Chicago. When I go back to visit it's so dismally concrete and crowded. I think had I stayed it would've suffocated me.
I probably could've made it work, but I followed my heart instead, and discovered a whole new world.
I don't regret one minute of it.
How about you? Did your life go as planned?
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I love 'sliding doors' moments like these. I have only two. When I was very young I had the choice of following a career in catering for which I had recently qualified or going the academic route starting from scratch. The second sliding door moment was after my exchange year in America. The Principal of St Agnes High School for Girls in Queens, New York offered me a job and the chance to settle in America. Hugely tempted. But had I taken it, I wouldn't have met Bernadette or end up being the proud father of Thomas and Frances. One day, God will tell us all about it.
It was a lost chance, but I know you made up for it in different ways.
My life certainly did not go as planned. I was a college sophomore at university working on my business degree when I got the fateful call that my mother had been hospitalized and just a short time later had to bury her.
I buried my dreams with her... especially since all my dreams, I soon realized, were all geared toward doing things for her.
It took me some time and a lot of healing to get on my path without my mom as the beneficiary of my work.
I've learned to live without regret taking the time to recognize my lessons from the bad and embrace the joy from the good.
He might've stayed with his job had we been living together, but we were tired of living separate lives. Retirement was the right answer.