Have you ever thought about where you would be if you had taken that job across the country, paid the acceptance fee to the other university, hadn’t rejected the boy at the high school dance, or said that dumb thing in class the other day?
I like to think people make decisions based on what they know will happen indefinitely. When in reality, each one of us is trying to make the best decision we can while it’s presented in front of us. I like to examine my life and contemplate on all the small decisions I’ve made and how it all could’ve turned out differently.
I often think about how I got where I am and who I am today by the choices I have made. If I hadn’t gone to community college, I never would’ve met one of my best friends, learned another language, or traveled abroad to Germany. If I hadn’t picked up a camera in high school, I never would’ve gone to university to study photojournalism, a strong passion of mine. What if I didn’t want to be like my older sister and play an instrument, leading to eight years of memorable moments? It’s these little choices we’ve made along the timeline of our lives that put us where we are today.
But don’t get comfortable thinking that every decision is easy. In fact, when I graduated from high school and fell victim to not knowing what I wanted to study and hadn’t even applied to any university, I went to community college. A decision I thank past-me for every day. I saved two years-worth of student loans, learned perspectives from young and old students, became more independent, and left college feeling like I knew what I wanted at a university. Granted, this appreciation didn’t come quickly. When I enrolled in community college, I felt very dumb, which I now recognize is attributed to high schools pressuring you into taking the academia route. I didn’t realize that there were so many other options that were just as good or better.
What we can learn from our choices is that we (in theory) made the best decision we could considering the situation. But also take time when making major choices. More often than not, they have more sides to them than you think. You should never regret the choices you’ve made so far in your life; they're attributed to the person you are.
In the end, I’m proud of the choices I’ve made in the past to help me in the future. I’m a better person because of them. I'm at a great place in my life surrounded by those who love me, my academic life is great, and I couldn't be happier with myself. In the end, you have to live with your choices, make the best of them, and move on. Let yourself emerge and grow from those past experiences to become the best version of yourself.
If you’re interested in more about fate and choice, I recommend this podcast by Radiolab.