Thursday 23 December 2010

Monday 13 December 2010


Being surrounded by young folk who still have all the choices ahead of them, and then hearing me ol' crow, croaking on my last breath: 'No choices anymore...' made me think!

While I am desperately looking for opportunities to broaden my mind, and improving my confidence, the young ones seem to be overwhelmed by choice and scared to take any decisions, fearing that it could be the wrong one, the one that drives life into a direction from where there is no return...

Was I like that? Maybe, at times, but I mainly trotted along to what I was feeling at the time. If I was unhappy I did everything to make me feel better, and sometimes the actions were drastic.This way I gave up my Chemistry studies not knowing what to do instead and really pissing off my parents. Well, they may have mainly been worried, and they may have been disappointed because I made the decision without them... it must be tough to be excluded all of a sudden, the loss of control, the feeling of not being needed anymore... However, I know my parents, they would have thrown a thousand good reasons for not quitting at me, all of which I had been through over and over again. The only good reason that was on my mind - 'I am miserable' - would not have stood trial in their eyes. So I had to create a status quo to avoid a discussion.

Only later I learned that life's choices are about perspective of two different parties:

Parents tend to baseline their scale of life with things like
  • What will the family/friends/colleagues think of us,
  • Determination needs to be learned, 
  • She is too young to know, we know what's best because we have experience,
  • It didn't work for me, I saw the bad examples, that is not how we do things.
Whereas our levelling approach goes along the lines:
  • I want to fit in with my friends
  • I want to do my own mistakes, gain my own experience
  • I want to be happy
  • I want to be in love
  • How can they know? They are old, the world has changed.
The two approaches of decision making which are positioned at the extreme ends of this scale sound simple but they both come with a price:
  • Completely comply to parent level  = you may not be happy, but at least you made everybody else happy. Let's hope they appreciate your sacrifice.
  • Only listen to yourself  = black sheep effect, you may get what you want, but you may not be happy either as you pissed off everybody and lost your friends and family.

Keeping the balance, it is then... Oh my, as if that would be easy! The above all happens on an emotional level; it doesn't even touch a particular problem.

Those are usually falling into the categories of  'lifestyle', 'men', and 'education and work', and taking the above out of the equation, solutions could be rather simple.

Everybody basically knows what is good to eat and what to avoid, how much sleep one should have, what environmental approach to take and even how to dress.

One loves him or one doesn't, he is rich or he is not, reliable or not,... make a checklist

Education and work:
You like it or you don't, salary, commute, colleagues, travel, promotion opportunities, ... make another list.

And now let's add all that emotional stuff to those lovely lists. It already is hard enough to incorporate ones own feelings into it and to rank the lists proplerly: Is it more important that he looks good or that he is rich? Can I put up with a longer commute when the money is right? But thinking hard enough one will eventually get there, probably negotiate the one or the other thing and then be able to make a decision.

No, one can't!

Because now the emotional baggage of all the other people one cherishes is kicking in. Every child and teenager will remember a moment either shouting out loud or at least mumbling: I can't wait to be grown up! At that age we have this romantic idea that growing up is a landmark, a defined moment, that one morning we will wake up and it has happened. Unfortunately that is not how it works. We have to MAKE ourselves grow up.

The bad news is: We will hurt people as we go along.
The good news is: This is a natural process, and the older one gets the easier it becomes.

In making babies cute, nature disguised the fact to parents that at one point they will have to let go. Their job is to supply all the information they think is needed to prepare you for life, and then they have to accept that you will leave the nest and will put the learned to the test. Every being has to have the opportunity to put its own mark onto this world, we cannot be clones of our parents. But of course this process is hurtful, losing control is always hurtful. It is however a parent's price to pay for having had the joy of raising offspring, nothing in life comes without a price tag. So not just the kids have to grow up, the parents have to do so as well. Growing up is a process that ends the day you kick the bucket.

The only thing I regret in my life is that I didn't dare growing up earlier. Giving up my Chemistry studies was my first attempt and it was so painful. And it was not painful because it was the wrong choice - it was one of the best decisions I took in all my life - It was painful because it hurt my parents.

After that I chickened out of growing up big time. I always was after harmony, I can't stand fights. This Chemistry incident stopped me from taking my own decisions for a long time. Whenever there was a choice, I  took the one that made people happy enough and wasn't too painful for myself. I have a great imagination; whenever I had the opportunity to make myself socially suitable, I jumped on it and dreamed myself into that role, just that imagination usually fades quickly. This way I enrolled into homeopathic school, which turned out to be an expensive disaster; and this way I studied computer science, which I only survived by spreading it thinly over 10 years.

Now that I am facing the last part of my life, I decided that it is time to grow up and to do all the things I always wanted to do. I wanted to become a social worker, save the world... Oh yes, I had ideals once... now I am doing my best for charities. I wanted to be an artist, a tailor, a joiner, a hat maker,... I always wanted to find my way through the creative jungle of options, but I never did because that firstly was not academic enough, and secondly would not bring enough income. And now I am coming full circle: I am the only one in my family with an MSC, computer science however is the only thing I am really crap at, so I am working as a secretary, which leaves me enough time to pursue my sport, sewing, blogging, and video making. Who knows, I might even make a career out of those things before I kick the bucket.

Luckily there is one thing in which I listened to my heart, though. My mum told me to let go of a boyfriend when I was 22. She told me that she knows me well and that I am a butterfly, seeking the fun in life and that I am more the flying from boyfriend to boyfriend type of person, and that I would break the heart of  this boy who was three years younger than me and who had become quite attached. She suggested to let him go before the relationship got too deep for him, rather causing a small pain now than a big one later. He is now her-son-in law of 26 years and she adores him... and I rest my case!

All of this made me the person I am and I am quite happy with the outcome. I realised that there is always a return should a decision lead to an unpleasant experience, and only NOT taking a decision is a bad choice.

Wednesday 1 December 2010