Choices

Choices are sacrifices, and inevitably a choice is giving up something that you want for something that you want more.

I had a really interesting conversation with a friend the other day, where we discussed the idea of the Sliding Doors concept, the choices that we make on a daily basis and how a single choice can affect the direction of the rest of your life.

slidingdoors-helen-at-closed-train-doors-300x180

In the last 32 years there have been two major life choices that I have made that I credit for being ultimately responsible for the life that I currently lead. The first was at the age of nineteen, when I chose to attend a university that was a hundred miles away from home instead of studying at a more local institution. The second was in 2005, when I had just graduated.

I was 24 years old and had just spent four years at a music conservatoire, gaining a Bachelors Degree in Music Performance on the violin. I was a terrible student, scraping through the qualification with the bare minimum of work (something that I still regret to this day), and I was all performed out. To be quite frank, I would have quite happily set fire to my violin at this point – I had gone from being a big fish in a small pond in my home town to a tiny piece of plankton in an enormous intimidating ocean of students who were more talented, driven and ambitious and I didn’t have the courage or motivation to compete.

As the panic of job hunting began, I managed to secure a post in a telemarketing company. I didn’t want it – even during the interview my brain was screaming at me to withdraw and walk away, but I stayed because I was scared that another opportunity wouldn’t arise. A violin hating violinist with a degree in music doesn’t have many avenues that they can explore.

Two days after the interview my ex-boyfriend, who I was living with, was reading the local paper and spotted an advert for a Learning Mentor at a school, working with teenagers with learning and behavioural difficulties. I only had a limited idea of what the job description was about, but I thought that it sounded interesting and decided to apply for it.

I was offered an interview. Unfortunately, the day of the interview was on the same day that I was due to start my telemarketing job. I had a choice – go to the job or go to the interview. If I went to the interview, I would lose the job. If I went to the job, I would miss out on the opportunity to interview for a post that I actually wanted.

I chose the interview. It was a gamble, but it paid off – I got the job, a year later the school offered me the opportunity to train as a teacher, I qualified, moved to a different school, met The Bloke and the rest is history. I was lucky.

What about you guys? Have you had to make a choice that has changed the direction of your life forever?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

31 thoughts on “Choices

  1. How very similar – two choices. I started a music degree and decided after a term that I didn’t want to turn a passion into a job, so transferred university and started a history degree. I still love music and performing… The second one was to move overseas. I just cannot imagine what my life would be like now if I had not decided to move country and start from scratch in a new place.

  2. Wonderful post. I’ve made many choices that have changed my life — career, relationships, family, and so on. I probably will be making another one, soon. I guess the best we can all do, as these opportunities present themselves, is to follow our instincts and values, as you did, in this great story.

  3. If I had stayed with my abusive ex, I just hate to imagine how my life would be right now. No matter what sort of health issues I have now, at least I am with a man who loves and protects me.

  4. I seem to usually take the option nobody else is choosing, so who knows what would be different. Or, maybe more accurately, what would stay the same.

  5. I returned from working in Switzerland and applied to Great Ormond Street Hospital to become a student nurse . I was accepted but as the course didn’t begin until the September , I got a temporary job as a nanny where I met a widower who worked for my employer. The choices I had were between going to my dream job or marry a man with three children . We couldn’t get on to the council house list unless we were married , so we did marry after only knowing each other for two months but it lasted until his death 44 years later. I do wonder , sometimes, where my path would have led if I had gone to GOSH but you can’t knock 44 years of ups and downs which is what life is made of after all.

  6. A pause for thought post. I’ve made two life changing choices. The first was immigrating to Australia from the UK almost nine years ago with my husband and two children – we have never looked back. It was certainly the right choice. The second was rebuilding our cracking marriage. That was definitely the right choice and now we are stronger and happier than ever before and just celebrated our silver wedding anniversary.

  7. Wow! There must be something in the air. My blog post from yesterday was about choices too. Also in the book I’m currently working on the main character is wrestling with life changing choices. Based on so many of your posts about teaching you obviously nailed the career choice when you went to that interview. Also, I don’t think I would read a blog about playing the violin.

  8. Nice choices. 🙂 I liked the big fish/small pond vs plankton sentence, too. Sums it up nicely. My wife and I were on the veranda and cooling off with some margaritas and having a similar conversation. She asked about my biggest mistake in life. It wasn’t too hard to pinpoint my decision to leave the Army and embark on a lifetime journey of experiencing tiny-brained bosses. On the other hand, I pointed out, assuming I didn’t go get killed in Desert Storm or some such, our paths would have likely never crossed in that other timeline. This led to a discussion about soul mates and magnetic attraction, the belief that certain people are destined to meet regardless of the timelines involved. It was around then I decided to chug the rest of the margaritas which was, of course, yet another decision in itself.

  9. Okay – so I’ve just finished an intro economics course where they drill into you the concept of trade-offs and opportunity cost. It’s exactly what you are talking about here: everything in life comes at a cost – and the cost to you, is what you have to give up to get what you choose.

    It sounds like you made the right choices for you! As for burning your violin, I had to smile. I played piano for about 10 years – and quite seriously at the end. I finished by Grade 9 Royal Conservatory – theory and all, and then quit. Didn’t touch it again for 10 years. We now have a piano in our home and I fiddle around for fun. It wasn’t meant to be something serious for me and wasn’t the right fit – but there is enjoyment in playing now at the right level and place in my life.

  10. I’ve made some bad choices in life, I’m sure “we” all had, I had a seven year uni-lateral relationship where I was being financially and emotionally abused, the best choice I ever made was to end this relationship.

  11. For me the biggest choice I made was to leave Italy at 16 and come to the US as an exchange student (at the time) and then decide to stay instead of going back to Italy (alone, no family). If I had stayed in Italy I would not have had the chance to follow my dream, coming to the US I was able to make my dream of making films come true. Who really knows what would have happened had I come back to Italy, but I never regretted leaving.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s