It’s that melancholy Monday question isn’t it? You wonder what you life would have been like with just a few simple choices made differently. It’s often said that “Hindsight is a wonderful thing”, or the question “If you had your time again, what would you change?” is thrown out there to be answered. You consider the butterfly effect small decisions would have had on your life and where would I be now if I had “Turned Left” like Donna Noble?
I think that the only real regret I have is my educational decisions. There was so little guidance at school about subject choice and the consequences of those decisions at the age of 14. Looking back going for Aesthetic subjects rather than ones that would have helped me follow a different career path that opened the world up to me – instead I ended up with few options and now I regret those choices. I would have done business studies or IT or something useful. I enjoyed Music and Drama because I am at heart a creative person, but no one sits you down to explain that the opportunities in those areas are few and far between and that the subjects you fill your timetable with will have an impact on your future.
But even more than school there’s the regrets about going to university. I hated it if I’m honest because I didn’t find what I was looking for there. There was no apocryphal moment where I saw paths leading from my time there to a day in the years to come where I’d find a career that used me to my full potential. If anything I found that going to uni compounded my earlier errors and that was where it went wrong. An English degree was supposed to open doors and give me options – well that was the line I was fed by the careers advisor at school; a lie by any other name. I felt trapped there and hated a lot of it – I almost walked away from it in my second year because I reached the point where I switched off, lost interest, didn’t care about the course. Perhaps if I had changed courses of gone and worked and returned later o the studying I would have been better off. Even now as I sit and think about the path my life has taken I do wonder where I’d be if I had walked away.
I took the only real option open to me by going into teaching because my options were limited. I think I’ve made the best of a bad situation and without sounding too egocentric I think I teach quite well. And there is a grass is always greener element to this too – maybe with the current dip, it magnifies the negative and regardless where I ended up in terms of work I would never have been completely happy. At least with teaching there is a creative side, working with a wide variety of people and no two days or classes are the same. The other issue is that I have no idea what I would do instead. It’s easy to say you are unhappy with something, but if you can’t identify an alternative it’s just moaning for moaning’s sake and not helping the situation you find yourself in.
It doesn’t stop you from asking the question though and maybe that’s not a bad thing. I know at the bottom of my mind there is an answer to the unknown alternative job and perhaps one day I’ll work that out and be able to move with confidence and purpose towards it, but to negate everything else I’ve achieved seems churlish – but then that’s just me: Mr Positivity!
I do hope that one day I’ll work it out and be able to scratch that itch because I’d hate to be old and still scratching away wondering what could have been and still having regrets about decisions of days gone by. Even if it’s to prove myself wrong, I think that would help me too. At thirty-five I’m still young enough to change direction and go on new adventures – now I’ve just got to work out what it is before I’m too old to anything about it.