Saturday, May 19, 2012

to accept the consequences of my decisions

9th May, 1992
9th May, 1992
Not exactly May 9th, 2012 but not all that long ago.

On Wednesday May 9th, Andrew and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary. We let it slide past because we were in the middle of moving house. We did have a sit down breakfast at McDonalds and then took loads of old no-goods to the dump. That was our anniversary but I spent a bit of time reflecting on the twenty years that have passed since 1992. I don't feel old enough to have been married for twenty years until I remember that our oldest child is seventeen.

So I took a quiet moment or two to reflect on what I have done in this time. Basically, I had three children and wrote seven novels. Then I think back to how it might have been. We could have had a lot more money than we do. I'd started a GradDip in Education that year and sort of expected to be a High School English teacher. Andrew was the accountant at the Stirling District Hospital. His boss was nearing retirement age and mentioned that Andrew might have a good chance of being in line for his job as CEO if he was willing to do a part time Uni course to give him all the necessary skills.

Imagine if I'd been an English teacher and Andrew had been the Stirling Hospital CEO. We'd never run out of money. No days waiting for centrelink payments which tend to be just under what we need to get by. We'd be able to make impulse buys and go to interesting, exotic places for holidays. We might have had a house paid off by now. That's what might have been.

Instead of that scenario, neither of us enjoyed our courses and both decided to quit. I became a homeschooling mum and author of novels and he's been many things, the latest of which is a music student at Adelaide University. I was trying to figure out whether I ought to have regrets, and although there is room for a few, there are not many. A book with some great common-sense chapters I read recently reminded me that every decision we make has consequences which we need to accept.

If we're not willing to accept the effects brought about by our choices, we need to re-examine our options and try some other alternatives. If we find we don't want to choose different options, then we need to accept our circumstances. Am I happy renting, not being able to buy the kids great things whenever they fancy them and being unable to holiday in America or Europe? Well, I guess the answer is yes, if I get to keep on homeschooling and writing. Would I have been happy as an English teacher? I'm sure the answer is a definite "NO"

The book told me, "Many people feel secretly comfortable stuck at a dead end and stepping outside your comfort zone can be quite overwhelming. If you find yourself feeling this way, remind yourself that it's your life. You don't have to change it if you don't want to. But if you do decide to leave things as they are, then you must choose to accept your current situation. If you can say, 'I've considered other options and I'm going to accept this situation,' then your sense of contentment will increase."

So I sat back after twenty years of marriage taking this advice and found that it does work. I wouldn't have imagined this for myself back in 1992 when I was 22, but I've been happy with it. We've stayed true to our values and it seems those values have been focused around creativity and living each moment to the full rather than postponing desire gratification, working 9 to 5 days, paying off mortgages and marching to the beat of drums set by others.

Yes, it's been a good twenty years.

15 comments:

  1. Congratulations for twenty years of marriage, and three beautiful children. Decisions either good or bad are never as important as love. Having that makes life worth while and keeps your vision alive.
    Blessings Crystal

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  2. There is great contentment in accepted the consequences of our decisions. We also have made several decisions to choose paths less travelled, leaving behind the expected and secure for the path of faith. The consequences are sometimes challenging but always interesting. We are created to follow our heart, rather than pursue security.
    Thanks for a great post and congrats on twenty years. x

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  3. Congratulations! 20 years is worth celebrating.
    Life really is amazing when you allow God to move in those decisions you make, hey.
    xx

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  4. Happy twentieth anniversary, Paula! Like you, I could not believe how quickly the time passed. Time flies when you are having fun! You all look beautiful!

    Good points about choices and consequences. I remember when I started coming to this realization about choices. In some ways it is very freeing. You can accept what you are doing even if it is hard. I needed to learn that even though homeschooling, writing and art were my choice, it didn't mean I could never have bad days. The things we choose to do are not necessarily along easy trails, but they are worth it, even with the occasional (frequent?) struggles. :o)

    Peace and Laughter,
    Cristina

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  5. Congratulations on 20 years of marriage Paula! You're psst is very true too!!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your wedding photos - and a BIG congratulations to you and your man!
    It's lovely to be able to look back and see the consequences and know you took the right step. Enjoy the new phase now in the new place too. :)

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  7. Congrats on 20 years of marriage. you know if you continued doing what you were and got those jobs, money etc. You may well have your own home etc but then with the stress of not doing what you wanted and all that comes with those issues you would probably not be happy or have 3 well adjusted children. It would have probably put a huge strain on the marriage and it may not be 20 years you are celebrating.
    Your children are also learning an invaluable lesson about managing money which they wouldn't if you were able to buy what you like when you like. It will set them up so that when they leave home they will understand how to budget and how to live within there means. It will probably help them to save also. I know having grown up without alot I know the value of a dollar and do not have debts. If I cant afford it I dont buy it.

    I am glad you are a writer there is nothing better than saying I know the author I that book.

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  8. Hey, thanks everyone, for your comments. Reading through them all, I appreciate the concensus that the choice to follow our hearts was worth it :)

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  9. I'm always late with comments but what a lovely success story! Staying together, loving the Lord, and with three great kids whose lives you are molding. Wow!

    We've reached the 51 years mark and are more in love now than when we first started out together. Earlier I had some regrets about stupid things that I can't even
    remember. God bless you all, Vince family!

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  10. Many congratulations for a wonderful 20 years, and more so for the wonderful attitude of contentment and gladness for what they've brought. You followed your heart. Many people have not, and can't say what you can when they look back over two decades. Good for you. I'm sure your kids are blessed by your example. :)

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  11. Thanks, Rita and Dorothy.
    Lots of mistakes happen but overall, they get smoothed down pretty quickly over time.

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  12. Happy, Happy 20th Anniversary! Good for you in choosing your life's direction with your heart and not listening to what the world would have you do. And how wonderful to look back and know that you made the right decisions! God has blessed you and your family and may He continue to do so. Here's to many more good years to come! And, goodness, how much your kids have grown! - Hugs - Kate

    P.S. Thanks for the birthday greeting! I forgot that your anniversary comes the day after my birthday - how fun!

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  13. Congrats Paula.

    You pretty much summed up my own thinking when I recently celebrated only 10 years married.

    xx

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  14. Paula - good on you for living your values. That's what I call a successful life! Asta x

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  15. Thanks Asta,
    When you really think about it, life's too short not to do that.

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Thanks for your comments.

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