Is it by Mistake or Design?

9 Apr

I have recently spent some talking to my BFFAE (reference joke) about the Big Life Decisions. Marriage and babies and such like. And how you can possibly find out whether you are ready or not. Although I am currently miles away from the BBQ (Big Baby Question – I am loving my acronyms today),  I have been at that point, where I would have said yes to both. Although in retrospect, things worked out differently, and I would have to say for the better, at the time I was pretty damn sure it was going to happen soon and it felt right. So, given that we can’t fast forward to see if things are going to work out, how can we ever know whether we should say YES to these big decisions? Adding to the official statistics, the chances that there is a person who makes you happy right now and also in 5, 10, 20, 40, 60 years and who manages to stay happy as well – somebody you can grow into a unit with, but both stay individuals – I’d say those chances seem slim. To then also be lucky enough to actually meet that person and for both sides to be in the right frame of mind where ‘getting together’ becomes an option is like winning the lottery. It’s much more likely to end up with a complete nugget. And saying yes to b.a.b.y is actually one of the maddest things you can do. You ruin your body, your career, your bank account, your social life, your sanity….yes, I am exaggerating for effect (but still…).

And even if the start is great – you could be madly in love on your wedding day and actually mean all the stuff you promise each other – 2 weeks later you could get your socks knocked off by some random guy on the bus. I think wedding vowels at best should really sound something like “As of today, I will really try not to piss you off every day and also not to fall for somebody else”. But promising anything, especially staying together forever and ever and ever seems utterly ridiculous. Because you can not know what life has in store for you or the other person. And actually, I think regular marriage renewals should be legal requirements. Like an MOT for couples to check if all wires are still working. If not, you have to do something about it, or end it.

I digress. Our conversation didn’t actually dwell on the whole marriage thing, but moved on to how planned your life is / should be / could be. BFF’s and my life are very different on most levels and to my huge surprise she said that my life looks so organised and that all these exciting things have happened to me because I have planned them all. I had always thought that the opposite was true and that my life was the result of a number of accidents. If I think back to all the big changes in my life, a lot of them were second choices, actual accidents or the complete opposite of what I had wanted to happen. Education, Jobs, Relationships, Where I live, What I do – I am actually struggling to identify more than 3 things that have happened because I had actively wanted them to happen in exactly such a way. What is true is that I have always added momentum – having interesting jobs, studying and working abroad, moving country again (back to Germany), building up and maintaining all my wonderful friendships and relationships etc. Semi-consciously I’ve obviously been building the framework for a sweet life, but filling in the details and painting the actual pictures, wasn’t done by me. I didn’t set out to move to Berlin and work for a cool, global software company. All I knew was that I wanted to leave the UK and have a job with some sort of international dimension. But the moment where things moved from conceptual to detail phase was a semi-drunk conversation at a friends’ wedding. That I even brought up my desire for change was pure fluke and could have easily not happened. Of course that makes me think of all the other amazing things that I was sooo close to, but missed by a few seconds, meters or words. The things that didn’t happen.

And that brings me to another point. Regrets. I don’t have many, and although I can easily name a handful of things in my life that have happened by my design and weren’t great, I don’t regret any of these nearly as much as I regret another handful of things that I didn’t do because I was too scared. If I could go back in time, I would make these things happen rather than undoing some of the bad things that have actually happened. Of course you don’t necessarily look at a decision that’s in front of you in such a way. It’s usually This) vs That) rather than Yes) vs No) to doing something. Classic scenario: You’re at a party and there is a guy who you really like. Do you go and tell him or do you stick with the girls all night? You opt for the girls. 10 years later and he is ‘The One who Got Away’ – all you can see is that you DID NOT tell him and you keep beating yourself up about it. Of course ‘Saying Yes / Doing Something’ sounds a lot easier than it often is in real life; it takes courage, often a bit of alcohol and sometimes some real madness. But it’s worth it. Courage usually pays off. I consciously adopted a YES mentality last year when I worked my way through my Bucket List and when people kept ringing me up with some other random ideas and suggestions. It has been wonderful and I actually can’t think of anything relevant in the past 6 months that I have shied away from. Quite the opposite. It’s been Yes All The Way. Which is why I’ve been quite busy and which probably also partly explains the nervousness mentioned in the last post… Maybe I am lacking some decision making or I can’t handle standing still any more. Maybe it’s time for a new hair colour again…..(that’s how it all started last time)….

P.S. the title for this post was inspired by a Lana Del Ray song, but when googling for an image, I came across this tumblr and thought it was rather nice.

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