Today, on my 55th birthday, I find myself looking back at what I expected my life to look versus what is does look like. What I expected was a career as a Psychologist, living a fulfilling life helping others, while remaining single. What I got was very different.
I wish I could blame it all on my ex but the truth is I had given up that dream years before he came into the picture. I gave up that dream the day I declined my acceptance into a PhD program and settled for the Master’s program instead. It was a defining moment in my life and, as I was making the decision, I knew it would be a game changer. I just didn’t understand how much of a game changer it would be.
I thought I was making the rational decision. I was staying close to home, just in case. I was starting with a MA degree & then would move on to my PhD. It made much more sense than moving hundreds of miles away & starting a program that would leave me with nothing if I failed.
That is the decision I thought I was making. How wrong I was.
The decision I was actually making was trusting in myself or not. In making that decision I was giving up on myself. In choosing “rational” versus “risky” I was feeding my insecurities. In the years to follow those insecurities grew, not because they were all I was, but because they were all I fed. I fed my fear, and it grew accordingly.
I used to say I have no regrets. Brene Brown suggests that regrets are part of the human condition. She goes on to say that if we claim to have none, we are a sociopath. I’ve often wondered how to reconcile that, as I’m fairly certain I am not a sociopath, yet I also thought I had no regrets.
I have so desperately wanted to believe that each decision I made was the right one at the time I made it. I now see this is not true. Each decision I made based on fear was the wrong choice. Period. And, since all I was feeding was the fear, my life became a series of flawed decisions, made by the part of me I should have silenced 30 years ago.
I made myself the sitting duck I was for my ex. Yes, he took advantage of my insecurities, but I grew them. I chose them as my companion.
I often read “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail”, and I’ve never been able to answer that question. I’ve never been able to answer it because deep in my soul all I’ve felt in the past 30 years is fear and failure.
This year I’m making a birthday resolution: I intend to starve my fear and feed my spirit. Except I’m not really sure how to do that, so I welcome any suggestions.
Maybe this will be the year I finally answer the question “what would you do if you knew you could not fail”.