I read this statement yesterday and it gave me pause:
"…in general people regret inactions rather than actions. There's actually a whole field of study in social psychology related to this phenomenon. It has to do with "counterfactual thinking. If you do something, you will know what the results were, for better or worse, and deal with it. If you FAIL to do something, you always imagine it having the best possible outcome, and it becomes this idealized scenario in your mind."Is this true for you?"
Back in December 2004, I decided I was moving to Paris. Why? Because. Just, because. Seriously, there was no real reason other than I've just always wanted to live in another country and I speak enough French to manage so, BAM, Paris it was. (yes, I have visited the city before, I wasn't going sight unseen)
I was so committed I told my parents and friends 'cause I wanted to talk it into life. I started preparing to go and had compiled a bunch of freelancing contacts, resources for African-American ex-pats, hairstylists, places to live and so on.
At the same I started getting my house ready for sale. I figured I'd sell it and live off the proceeds if I couldn't generate enough income via freelancing. I HAD A PLAN UNDERWAY.
When Spring 2005 came I had a real estate agent come and make an assessment of my house and the numbers she put out were wonderful. She gave me some notes on things I should do before putting the house on the market and I got busy doing them.
Then, all of a sudden, I got scared. I started thinking about what would happen when I came back if I didn't have a job and what if I got lonely in another country without my friends or family and what about healthcare?!!!! and the next thing you know, I had spun myself into a knot and talked myself out of going. I lost all momentum. I bought a convertible roadster and that was my Paris. A few months later I met my now ex-husband and I thought things had worked out as intended.
I've never stopped wondering what my life might have been like if I had gone to Paris. In my mind I see myself as this sophisticated worldly multilingual person living this exciting life with exciting people in exciting places. Like the quote says, the idealized scenario.
But, the truth is, I'm ME wherever I am and while I would likely have done some exciting stuff, I've also done some exciting stuff over the past few years and I didn't have to move to Paris to do them.
Also, despite the demise of my marriage, I will never ever ever regret getting married and marrying the man I did because I genuinely loved him and wanted to live my life with him.
Still, my motto since the passing of my friend has been YOLO. I've even got my mama saying it. LOL
A few weeks ago my high school boyfriend (remember the cheerleader?) made some passing comment via text about how he should have married me back in the day and I didn't think much of it at the time 'cause whatever, we were children, we weren't ever getting married back in the day, that's just some shit to say.
But yesterday after reading that statement, I reminded him what he said about marrying me and pointed out to him that the SingLikeSassy he admires is not the one he would have gotten had he married me back in the day. I've done the things I've done because I didn't marry until later and don't have children. If we had gotten married way back when, we likely would have had kids and my life choices would have been different as I would have had more than myself to plan for and think about.
He countered that a good spouse would support their mate in pursuing career opportunities and so on, which is true, but I wanted him to understand that I would have made different choices. I could not -- and likely would not -- have taken the path I am on if I had had to juggle kids and a husband during my 20s.
Anyway, writing that made me appreciate all that I have done so far and think about what I can still do with the life I have left. I'll ponder it some more as I explore Madrid next week. Alone. YOLO!