Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Regrets

I try to live my life the way *I* think it should be lived. I don't follow what others tell me to do, because in the past, when I did, I paid the price. I don't want to have regrets in my life, though I do have a few. From those few, I look at them as a lesson dearly learned. And then there are some I stupidly repeat a few times until I get a good knock on the head and wake up.

I feel so lucky to have Andrew in my life-- definitely no regrets in marrying him! We think alike in many ways, yet we are different enough to look at things differently. I think that comes from us being 10 years apart. 10 years doesn't seem like much, but the 60's and 70's were so drastically different-- the TV shows, the music, the culture, the fashions, even the politics. The stuff he grew up on was gone by the time I came along, and then the stuff I grew up on, he was off in the military, too busy to keep up with what was current.

When we met, the timing was right. He was fresh out of the Navy and ready to settle down and I was ready to find my Mr. Right, getting tired of the same old dating scene. When we decided to get engaged, we may have raised some eyebrows-- we got engaged after only a month of dating, but it felt right and there was no hesitation on my part when he proposed to me.

The decision for us to buy our first house in the country was not something many of our friends and family would have chosen, but we were happy and that was what mattered. We have never regretted moving to where we did, though we have, on several occasions, kicked ourselves for getting that particular house. It was definitely a learning experience, but living there prepared us for living in our current house, so I can look back on the old place with no regrets.

When I quit the post office, many of our friends and family were concerned about that. It was good pay and benefits and who would leave such a job?? But I hated my job, I dreaded going to work and we wanted to start a family with one parent at home with the kids. I happily volunteered to be the one to stay home. Have I regretted that choice? No. We missed the extra income initially, but we managed. Did we stop spending? No. Stupid credit cards made us feel as if we still had money to spend. Going into debt was stupid, but we learned from our mistakes and after we paid it off, it taught us not to live beyond what's in our bank account. So I can look back on that stupid moment without regrets.

Then we moved farther away from family and friends much to their dismay, and for a little while there, we wondered if we did the right thing. We were a little homesick for our family and friends; no one ever made the 2-hour drive out here except for Andrew's parents; a friend said, and I quote, "you live in the middle of nowhere!" 5 years later, we have grown to love living where we do. When we leave, we cannot wait to get back. Living at the old place prepared us to live simply and to stock up on pantry items and supplies in case we get snowed in or we don't get out to the store right away. No regrets there.

When Andrew quit the post office because the commute was getting to be too much and he wasn't able to be with us because he was on the road too much and spent a couple nights per week at his parent's house, leaving me home alone with the kids and I was pregnant with #3 at the time. We talked and talked about that decision, and he had another job lined up, though it was lower pay, but closer to home. We felt good about that. Had we known that 9 days into the new job that they were going to let him go, Andrew would have never left the post office. For a long, long, long time after that, we regretted that decision. We would not have had the money troubles we have now if he had stayed. But we didn't know. I don't regret that decision anymore. We did what we thought was right at the time and circumstances out of our control happened to skewer our neatly made plans. It taught us that not everything goes according to plan and sometimes, shit happens. It's what you do with what you have that counts.

In 4 years, since Andrew quit, we have managed to keep our heads above water. We had some rough times, we have had to go without and then learned we didn't need what we thought we so badly needed, and discovered that we could live on even less than we thought we could. Every action causes a reaction. Not always good, not always bad. Sometimes there are more bad reactions and I wonder when the tide will turn. But I have really learned that if you keep your head up, work hard, love each other, communicate to each other and support each other, eventually, things will be good again. And those moments of regrets turn into lessons learned.

I am having a moment of regret right now that we are trying to correct. Hopefully, it'll turn into a lesson I'll learn from, though it is hard to see at this time. I can think of nothing else and I'll be taking a little break. Be back next week.

9 comments:

Johnna Sutton said...

Everything happens for a reason, I'm sure you know that and I know when people say that somtimes you want to punch them, but I'm in Oregon so you can't reach me:) You, my lady are a blessing! Jason and I have had similar events happen to us. Who is crazy enough to sell a lucrative business on Maui and move to the country, we are! Sometimes I still regret it, however you only live once! Enjoy your break and blessing to you :)

Karen Mayes said...

Well, you know one expression... when life throws you lemons, make delicious lemonade out of them ;-)

kristen said...

I appreciate your attitude, and will be thinking of you as you take your break. I hope this one turns out better than you could hope.

barefoot gardener said...

I've always been a firm believer that if you do the best you can with what you have - all the time - you have nothing to regret. Even choices that turn out not so great are, like you said, learning experiences.

You are such an inspiration for me, and I hope you don't let yourself "regret" for too long. I will be thinking of you and hoping all is well...

Ron said...

I can sure empathize and relate to this...

Overall, I don't have many regrets, but there are certainly plenty of instances where I've made things a lot harder on myself than they had to be. I hope you can find that silver lining lurking out there.

That pool looks awesome. I have one that just needs some patches and a pump... very tempting... This summer's heat has been relentless.

Ron

jenny said...

Johnna-- I agree, everything happens for a reason. No reaching out and punching you. :o) Thanks for your kind words and support!

Karen-- I'm squeezing as hard as I can, no juice yet. :o)

Kristen-- Thanks.. I am praying it goes our way.

Barefoot-- Absolutely! If you give it your best, then there is nothing else left to be said. This is just a case of making a decision too quickly without thinking it through first. If I learn anything from this "chapter", it'll be to think on things a little more before we decide to do something.

Ron-- I know what you mean about making things harder than they should be. Sometimes the harshest judge is your own self and I just need to take a step back and look at things differently. Separate the heart from the mind kind of thing.

It has been a very hot summer, yes. Almost too hot for the pool some days. I remember that pool you had..but that creek you go to looks more fun!

Wendy said...

Hope it turns around for you soon. Regrets are difficult to live with ... don't ask me how I know ;).

karl said...

"I try to live my life the way *I* think it should be lived. I don't follow what others tell me to do, because in the past, when I did, I paid the price."

i feel exactly the same way.

k-)

jenny said...

Wendy-- Things have turned the corner! I can breathe now. And yes, those regrets can be hard to live with, especially when you share it with someone else.

Karl-- That's why we do the things we do, right? Who wants to be sheep?