Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

The Funny Thing About Life

11 Comments

Live and learn.  Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you figure out you don’t.  It’s pretty interesting how it all comes about.  You realize the older you get that some of the choices you made in your youth were ill-advised at best. Then again some of the choices you made in your youth panned out infinitely better than you expected.  You also realize that it was your choices alone that brought you where you are today.  I would venture to guess no matter what position you’ve found yourself in, even the seemingly impossible ones, there was more than one solution.

The funny thing about life is: there are always choices.  Right and wrong, right and righter, good and better,  wrong and wronger, bad and worse, neither right nor wrong – just different.  Some choices in life you’re very proud of and others are sources of deep regret.  So today I’d like to ask about your choices in life.  Name the one choice or accomplishment you’re proudest of and then the one choice that is your deepest regret.  I’ll go first.

Choice or accomplishment I’m proudest of:  Having a hand in raising a step-daughter I love as much as if she were my own.  She’s beautiful, intelligent, and a fabulous mother in her own right now.

Deepest regret:  Not having gone to college.  I know I could still do something about that.  I would have gone into nursing.  Instead I’ve taken a completely different path.  I’m an office manager at a construction firm.  All in all I have a pretty sweet deal and I can’t complain about it.  But I still wish I’d gone to college for nursing.

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11 thoughts on “The Funny Thing About Life

  1. I've thought a lot about these things too. I'm 58 and have a LOT of life that God has had to work overtime to providentially bring about something decent out of. I can say that I always THOUGHT I could see the "good" but there's always a "longer run" and bigger picture that I could not see (and still can't). The thing I'm proudest of and most regretful for are the same thing: I was a church leader and committed adultery with a friend's wife at church. One time and she got pregnant. We could have but didn't abort to cover it up. We ended up divorced and excommunicated (divorce for adultery was the unforgivable sin in my church) and our daughter is now 18 and one of the best kids anyone could hope for. I never could get back into "paid" ministry so I ended up in construction (with 3 degrees) for the last 32 years to pay child support and raise our Brady Bunch of 6 kids. But I wouldn't trade my last 32 years "in the trenches" of the world for any church job now… so yeah, God works in mysterious ways. (But as a friend once said, "How come when God works in mysterious ways, I always get kicked in the ass?"). 🙂

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  2. Deepest regret: I've got several, all of which center around stupid activities in my youth. Beyond simple mistakes or harmless pranks, I've done somethings which made significant impacts; inappropriate sexual behavior, vandalism, and theft. I don't blame anyone for these mistakes I've made. However, I can't help but wonder that if I had had better outlets readily available for my boredom and insecurities, if I could have more easily diverted myself from these stupid actions.Proudest accomplishment: That would probably be a toss up between learning to accept myself "as is" and yet push to be better, and being able to convince the right woman to marry me. 🙂 I'd be just fine without my wife, but she enriches my life in so many ways that I elevate achieving our love as one of my most prideful accomplishments.

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  3. I don't know if I can come up with a proudest accomplishment off the top of my head, I have one (or two) that I remain obscurely proud of.I used to participate in (and for a while, administrate) an online writing/roleplaying site. One of the things we did there was to encourage – if not actually force – the people playing fantasy warriors to learn enough about swords, shields, armor, and suchlike to write their fight scenes realistically. With my particular background, I was faily good at this. Anyway, at one point one of the students e-mailed me because he was interested in studying swordfighting in real life, and he wanted some suggestions for how he might manage this. So I mulled around and offered some possibilities, and some general advice on what to look for in a martial arts school. Then, remembering that this fellow was still in high school, I was suddenly inspired to suggest Aikido – it's the only purely-defensive martial art that I know, which often makes it an easy sell to parents.I heard back from him a couple of years later; he and a friend had signed up, and they'd both just made Brown Belt. I've never met him in person, and the achievement is entirely his own, but I remain very proud of connecting him with something that he apparently really enjoyed.Something very similar happened a while later, and that "student" is now leading the Australian branch of a Tai Chi school. Which was how my wife and I managed to visit Australia just before Firstborn came along, and why the only time I've studied under her (American) teacher was at a sword camp in Australia.

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  4. I regret not going on to pursue my dream of being a veterinarian. I let fear of things hold me back and I know I would have been a good one. I did work in a veterinarian clinic for 5 years as an "animal nurse" that job taught me so much. Not only about animals and care but about people and life. I suppose you could say that it is one of my proudest moments, knowing your are good at something and seeing that others agree and benefit from that. Of course caring for infant twins is a proud moment as well. I mostly did it myself while the AH was at work. There are times I look back on that and wonder how I even did it with such little sleep!

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  5. My deepest regret is choosing to marry the woman I did. We were deeply incompatible and she barely liked me. 15 years of misery ensued, and I'm probably still recovering after 10 years free.(Yes, I do have 3 wonderful kids from her, but that's what people always say to minimize or excuse a hellish marriage.)

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  6. @s-p and evangelically incorrect:Thank you for sharing. Those are some pretty personal thoughts and your willingness to share with transparency is appreciated. ======================================================@TWF,Everybody has a past. It's what you're doing with yourself now and pushing yourself to do in the future that counts. And that's one of the sweetest things I've ever heard a man say about his wife. A lot of people might not quite get:"I'd be just fine without my wife". That is one of the most freeing things you can do for her. You're not needy and suffocating. But it's clear you treasure her for who she is and what she adds to your life. Yay for you!======================================================@Michael Mock,A lot of people downplay the role the internet has in connecting people. They view it as impersonal and, well, not realistic. At the end of the day the thing to remember is there is a real person on the other end of that computer screen. And you can have a very real and positive influence in the lives of people you would otherwise not have "met" or "known". You're justified in feeling that was an accomplishment.======================================================@theagnosticswife:Parenting is such a responsibility, not that you don't know that. But parenting twins! Twice the responsibility and twice the rewarding love. Awesome thing to be proud of, especially when you can feel like you're doing it well.

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  7. EI, boy howdy. It took me 19 years and 7 years of therapy to get the guts to walk (run) away from my former marriage. Unfortunately I ran into someone else in the process. :/

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  8. …"Unforutunately" means it wasn't the best scenario even though I am still deliriously happy with my new wife after 18 years.

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  9. s-p someone has to keep us counselors in business.

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  10. @s-p and evangelically incorrect:Thank you for sharing. Those are some pretty personal thoughts and your willingness to share with transparency is appreciated. ======================================================@TWF,Everybody has a past. It's what you're doing with yourself now and pushing yourself to do in the future that counts. And that's one of the sweetest things I've ever heard a man say about his wife. A lot of people might not quite get:"I'd be just fine without my wife". That is one of the most freeing things you can do for her. You're not needy and suffocating. But it's clear you treasure her for who she is and what she adds to your life. Yay for you!======================================================@Michael Mock,A lot of people downplay the role the internet has in connecting people. They view it as impersonal and, well, not realistic. At the end of the day the thing to remember is there is a real person on the other end of that computer screen. And you can have a very real and positive influence in the lives of people you would otherwise not have "met" or "known". You're justified in feeling that was an accomplishment.======================================================@theagnosticswife:Parenting is such a responsibility, not that you don't know that. But parenting twins! Twice the responsibility and twice the rewarding love. Awesome thing to be proud of, especially when you can feel like you're doing it well.

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  11. I don't know if I can come up with a proudest accomplishment off the top of my head, I have one (or two) that I remain obscurely proud of.I used to participate in (and for a while, administrate) an online writing/roleplaying site. One of the things we did there was to encourage – if not actually force – the people playing fantasy warriors to learn enough about swords, shields, armor, and suchlike to write their fight scenes realistically. With my particular background, I was faily good at this. Anyway, at one point one of the students e-mailed me because he was interested in studying swordfighting in real life, and he wanted some suggestions for how he might manage this. So I mulled around and offered some possibilities, and some general advice on what to look for in a martial arts school. Then, remembering that this fellow was still in high school, I was suddenly inspired to suggest Aikido – it's the only purely-defensive martial art that I know, which often makes it an easy sell to parents.I heard back from him a couple of years later; he and a friend had signed up, and they'd both just made Brown Belt. I've never met him in person, and the achievement is entirely his own, but I remain very proud of connecting him with something that he apparently really enjoyed.Something very similar happened a while later, and that "student" is now leading the Australian branch of a Tai Chi school. Which was how my wife and I managed to visit Australia just before Firstborn came along, and why the only time I've studied under her (American) teacher was at a sword camp in Australia.

    Like

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