Monday, August 01, 2005

Decision, decisions

The best decisions I ever made:
1. Deciding to marry D. when we found out I was pregnant with The Girl.
2. Having The Boy.
3. Buying the farm where we live now.
4. Jumping off the career ladder for a while (ok, I was pushed, but I CHOSE not to climb right back on).
5. De-emphasizing TV.
6. Committing to carrying as little debt as possible.
7. Desiring a good, ongoing relationship with my parents, siblings, and in-laws.
8. Inculcating a love of reading in the kids.

Not on the list: homeschooling (it’s been fine, but The Girl would thrive in just about any educational environment). Getting my MBA: an ok decision, but not one that’s paid off yet. Relationship with God; that’s an entire other post or four. You could argue that 6, 7, and 8 are ways of living, not actual discrete decisions like the others. Too bad, it’s my list.

Of course, you can’t contemplate this without also thinking about
The worst decisions:
1. Marrying husband #1/college boyfriend/guy who was gay (all one person).
2. Choosing the liberal arts college and major (math) that I did; in retrospect, I should have been encouraged to pursue a more technical career, e.g., industrial engineering, at a different college, probably a state university.
3. Related to #2, as long as I did complete the major in math, I should have, in my first post-college job, taken the actuarial exams more seriously, and put a lot more effort into studying for them. As a full-fledged actuary, you can pretty much write your own (job) ticket.
4. Thinking it was a good idea to try to start a relationship with someone I worked with. Long ago, but still a big mistake.

Decisions, of course, work in combination. If I had become an actuary, I wouldn’t have been in the place (geographically and mentally) that I was when I met D. In fact, the wrong marriage also had a lot to do with making me who I am. But it was still a mistake, compounded by staying in it long after I realized that. Erasing debt makes some of the other decisions (2, 3, 4) more achievable.


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