I have wondered what my life would have been like if I just stayed at my first college, instead of transferring home. Who would my friends be? What would my career be? Where would I live? Would I have ever found triathlon?
But I didn't stay, I chose to come home, and everyday since then I have made a series of choices to get me to where I am. I changed my major, went to grad school instead of worked, stayed in Chicago for internship, moved away from home, made various relationship choices, etc.
When faced with these decisions, it's always a risk, because you never know what lies on the other end. But sometimes, you just have to make them, take the plunge, jump in, and deal with whatever the consequences might be.
I face decisions everyday, and in every area of my life. Should I skip my swim today? If I do, I might regret it race, but if I don't, I might have a strong showing which would give me a motivation boost for the rest of the week. Should I quit private practice? If I do, I might lose out on a potential for a lucrative career, but if I don't I might continue to feel burned out and quit anyway. Should I buy a house? If I do, I might be making a solid future investment, but I might also be putting myself in more debt than I can carry right now.
Sometimes I seek out help or guidance when faced with a major decisions. Whatever - I'm a talker - I need to talk through issues so that I can best understand. This is a great thing about friends - most of them never, ever tell me what to do. They never gives me advice, even if they secretly want to. Rather, they let me sit there and mull over the different sides of an issue, and figure it out for myself, while raising some questions or presenting an insight about something. But do they turn me down the path they think I should be on? No.
Sometimes this makes me mad, I'll admit. Sometimes I want someone to tell me what to do to make it easier for me. But the reality of this is that it really just gives me a person to point the finger at when the consequence backfires in my face.
And that's the other thing. With each choice comes a consequences. I can't expect everything to work out my way just because of I make a particular choice. But I have to accept that every decision has repercussions, good and bad. I know that, with some or most decisions, other people will be affected, and I need to consider feelings, and respect them.
For example, I imagine that, should ever get married, decisions I make will not only be considered in terms of what I want to myself, but how it will affect the other person. Like if I decide to do another Ironman - this final decision will be made by me, but not without consultation regarding how it might affect the relationship. Can we afford it? Can I be thoughtful to the time it will take away from the time spent with the significant other? Are there any other things we as a couple have planned, and will this interfere? All this has to be respected.
Will the costs outweigh the benefits? Are the costs too great and do I stand to lose too much? What is most important to me?
If the answer is yes - if the costs are too great and there is too much to lose - then my answer is no.
So I just have to weigh out what matters most to me. If I decide to go in one direction (like doing the swim, for example) it means I am putting my physical fitness over my laziness. The path that is chosen is the one of greater importance. If I go in another direction (lay in bed and sleep), I also have to face the consequence that I might not be ready on race day.
Training, friendships, relationships, family, work, etc. All areas of life are filled with this stuff.
And the thing about me is that I want answers right now. When faced with a potentially life-altering decisions, I tend to agonize, ponder, obsess. I find, though, when start to do this, it's a huge red flag that I am in no good place to make that decision. As hard as it is for me to do, I try to give up, let it go for the moment and just let the decision make itself. Sometimes this works. Sometimes, if I just wait long enough, the answer will present itself, this taking some of the pressure off of me to have to do. I like when this happens. If I just wait for enough signs, or the right ones, that path will be determined. Of course, having said that, I still have to make the ultimate decision to proceed down the path that is presented. But usually by this time, there is enough evidence to support that journey.
Am I babbling? Maybe. I guess this might make sense to anyone faced with a decision at the moment, but maybe not to those just plugging along.
In the end, anybody can tell me what to do, but ultimately I have to take responsibility for my own decisions.
And then I need to own the consequences.