The choices I’ve made

When I went to college, I thought I was going to be a journalist. I majored in Journalism, wrote articles for the paper, worked as a copy editor. I thought I would be a reporter for a newspaper.

Guys, it was HARD. I had to go up and talk to strangers and ask them questions, and as an insecure introvert, I found that terrifying. I did like writing the stories, though. And I loved the copy editing, but that was always super late at night. I got exhausted and my stomach would start to cramp around 1 am.

So I had that stuff going on, and at the same time, my mom was back home running her used-book store, the one I’d worked at for a couple of years before college. She and I had a lot of fun together, I loved the book business, and she needed/wanted the help. And somehow it was just easier to give up the journalism stuff and plan to manage the bookstore. I switched my major to English but kept a Journalism minor, mostly because I was pretty much already there with the classes I’d taken, and I quit the copy editor job at the college paper.

Current Bonny is pretty hard on College Bonny. Looking back, I feel like I took the easy way out. I gave up because it got hard. Because it was challenging and scary. And the choices I made then affected the rest of my life. It wasn’t all bad: I loved working with my mom for the next three years, and when the girl was born, I got to take her to work with me and my mom was flexible about nap times and tantrums and all those other baby interruptions. I learned a lot about the used-book business and am still a devoted collector and book snob.

But when the shop, and my parents, moved to Arizona, I fumbled. I tried to do my own book business from home but that never amounted to much, and when the boy was born, I gave that up too and because a stay-at-home mom. I fell into retail because it was an escape from constant mom-ing, and because it didn’t really need any specialized experience or degrees. And that was cool for a few years. I was a good leader, I think, and I loved the people I worked with. But when the job got harder, and life at home got harder, and my father-in-law died and my dad died, I gave up. Again. And I stayed home for another four years.

I feel like a failure sometimes. I look back at my choices and wonder where I’d be now if I’d been brave enough to keep pushing. Because I think College Bonny was on to something. I’m getting a few more opportunities at work, chances to write short news pieces, and it means talking to people and asking questions. And the crazy thing is, it’s super fun. It energizes me. I like learning about people and what they’re passionate about, and I like taking what I learn and turning it into something people enjoy reading.

Yeah, I’m a lot different now than I was 20 years ago. I’ve grown up a lot. I’m more confident in a lot of ways. I have a lot fewer fucks to give in general, and that’s pretty freeing. But man, what if College Bonny had just had faith in herself, and pushed through the fear, and kept on writing?

I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, I suppose. It definitely doesn’t help anything or change anything. I am where I am, and I don’t regret the time with my mom or the time spent with my kids. I’m grateful we had that flexibility and freedom. And if things are starting to swing in a better direction at work, maybe that’s the most important thing. Maybe the hard conversations I had recently paid off to some extent and helped lead to these new opportunities. I’d like to think so, and maybe that’ll help me keep pushing the next time it gets hard or scary or frustrating. I’ll be like Dory, only it’ll be “Just keep writing, just keep writing!”

So, yeah. That’s where I am today. And now I think I’m going to do some knitting and lighten the mood. Thanks for listening, friends.

21 thoughts on “The choices I’ve made

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. Possibly because I can relate to the “what ifs” and “if onlys” a lot more than the knitting, I suppose, but I always enjoy the knitting posts because I enjoy your writing. I empathize with how you’re feeling, but you’re right; it doesn’t change anything. Use what you’ve learned from your past to shape your future.

    • Thank you. 🙂 I think there are a lot of people like us out in the world, and I wonder how many of them are women? I’m glad we’re both being more proactive in shaping our futures!!

  2. It’s like reading about myself; I’ve been going through similar thoughts recently. I missed some chances and resigned from my biggest dreams because of crippling anxiety and depression in my teenage years, and it’s really too late to pursue them now at 40 (though I’m trying to be good to myself and do things that are possible even with delay). On the other hand, it took years of therapy to realise just how bad things had been for me and feel some pride that I actually made it through that time and survived, without any real help or support to my problems. I’m trying to see things in a positive way, but honestly, these days I’m really struggling with it…

    • I’m sorry you’re struggling. Some days the regrets are more paralyzing than others, that’s for sure. And while I don’t like to say that you’re ever too old to pursue your dreams, I do recognize that it gets harder. I’ve thought of going back to school, but doing that along with work and home stuff…ugh. I’m not sure I want it badly enough. I do hope you’re able to focus enough on the positives and remember how strong you are, strong enough to keep going and find things that are fulfilling!

  3. I totally get this! I spent 3 years and 4 weeks as an elementary/special ed major, got 4 weeks into student teaching, and then couldn’t do it any more and switched my major to religion (I had a minor in it). I knew I could probably get a job at the insurance company I had been working for in the summers, and I did. But yeah, I struggle a lot with the what ifs of that. Shouldn’t I be making a bigger impact on the world as a teacher? But I mostly have gotten to a point where I realize I did what was best for me and that it’s ok to change plans.

    • I’m glad you reached that point! It’s definitely okay to do what’s right for you, and it’s taken me a long time to learn that too. I’m still working on it! I do think it’s not worth beating ourselves up too much about it. You are making an impact on the world; it’s just different than you thought it would be years ago!

  4. Don’t be too hard on yourself! I know, easier said than done. I sometimes get mad at College Me also. I also took the easy way out and switched from a science major to an English one. I could have been doing all these interesting and important things if I’d stayed a science major. But you know what? If I had, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I would never have met Mr. Wyrm. I would not have the life I have, the friends I have. I would not be the person I am. And I like me too much to regret what might have been.

    • Thank you! I love your perspective. You’re right: everything I’ve gone through has shaped me, and brought people into my life, and I’m so glad I have all of that!

      • In a weird way, I have my ex to thank for this. People kept telling me after the divorce that they wished he hadn’t come into my life, but I couldn’t get over the fact that I learned valuable lessons about myself from being with him, and that without that experience I would be a completely different person.

  5. I see myself in what you wrote. I try to be gentle with my decisions, but looking back, I can see where I took the easy way out. I do wonder where I would be if I had just hunkered down and pushed through, but knowing the woman that I am, it would have taken an emotional and physical toll on me at some point and that’s not good either.
    I am glad you are right here, right now. xoxo Regina

  6. Don’t be hard on College Bonny! You did what was best for you and your family then, and you’re doing what’s best for you now. I often second guess college me’s decisions too. But thingsvwork out how they do. Hoping things are moving in a positive direction for you at work now!

  7. I think there will always be ‘the road less travelled’ and, while I think it can be a good thing to consider if it motivates you to do something with the here and now, it’s far too easily to get idealistic looking back on what didn’t happen. It sounds like you’re at the beginning of another exciting path now and you’ll always having your knitting superpowers!

    • You’re so right. I forget that if I’d chosen differently, things might not have worked out well in other ways! And also, you made me realize that if it weren’t for the path I took, I might not have found knitting, and what would I do without that???

  8. I’ve been thinking about your post, and what to say. Looking back, I’ve realized the Universe knows better than I do. All of my many passions have come together in one way or another to make me who I am and it benefits what I do now. I did not see the big picture when I was in college, that’s for sure. Life is about more than what you do, and I’m sure you will never regret making the decision to stay home to raise your kids. That, and spending time with your mom, will always be with you. Cherish it. My only regret is that I need to be more creative. I love my job, but if I’m not making too, I get depressed. So I have to make sure I stay on that! And Blogville helps me do that. 🙂

    • Yes, I’m with you there on needing creative time! I’m so glad I’m able to have enough time away from work to be able to knit and write. Blogville is huge for me too. And no, I’ll never regret the time I spent with my mom and kids. It’s kind of a weird feeling, to know that those were good decisions but also think about the what ifs. So yeah, better to accept the Universe and appreciate who I am now. Thank you! 🙂

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