On Making Decisions

We sometimes can be accused of  doling out advice that we should be following in our own life. It can take a lifetime of experiences to recognize the simplest of things…that we create our very own reality. I always valued education, sought out various forms of what could be considered higher knowledge, explored alternative religions and world philosophies and most importantly,  surrounded myself at a young age with people whom I greatly admired and respected; but not one of them said something like this to me…

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In a way that is not quite so original or eloquent, I have lately been giving this advice to people in my life, mostly young folks on the cusp of discovering who they are and what they wish to achieve in life. It goes beyond the “what do I want to be when I grow up?” issue…a question that has reared its head in just about every decade of my own life. It is more the challenge of finding how I fit into this world, how I will leave my mark on it, how to best utilize my gifts in a way that brings fulfillment ( and maybe even an income).

Growing up in a community that is busy with survival..getting and  keeping a job, finding a home, raising a family, putting food on the table, etc., I realized that it was a luxury to have the benefit of an education. It opened the door to far more possibilities, and a lot more confusion. When you live paycheck to paycheck, and have no backup resources, you don’t have the time for introspection or philosophy..you are busy to the point of exhaustion just trying to make ends meet.

With more options comes more freedom to choose. Sometimes as a 20 year old, I wanted someone to just take me aside and say…Here..you are good at this…so do this ! I was an academic from early on ( I have toddler-aged photos of myself with a chalkboard and pointer} so I always believed it was my destiny to stay in school for as long as possible. I was to become a teacher. Life had other plans for me. When I finally got to my teaching practicum in senior year of college, I was torn…this was not what I wanted to do with my life, so now…what ??

That “what” turned out to be marriage and a move to the state of Utah, where my glowing credentials were meaningless in a community that favored and promoted jobs for native-born LDS (Mormon) trained teachers. It was both a curse and a blessing. It stopped my teaching career in its tracks..which worked for me since I was not certain I had made the right choice anyway. The blessing came in the fact that I would now pursue other options, which led me to some interesting alternative jobs, and set me on a path that ultimately did include teaching; just not in the traditional classroom sense. The skill set that I developed as a student came to good use after all, but in commercial and industrial settings. No matter the job/position/employer, I always found a way to teach somebody something.

Whether I knew it or not at the time, the Universe did indeed conspire to make things happen.

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