I came across a post over at Naked Girl in a Dress the other day about the best five decisions she made in her life. I couldn't stop thinking about it - not specifically her decisions, but the idea of narrowing down the defining moments in one's life.
I am all about those obsessive, introspective, lay-awake-at-night-and-wonder-what-it-all-means memes.
You see, this subject means a great deal to me. One of my personal mottos is "Life is to short to have regrets" and I have lived my life with that in mind for a very long time. As far as I am concerned, we are only on this earth once, and it's really not all that long. Having experienced many personal losses in my early adulthood, I made the decision very young to live each day as though it were my last.
I had a child young. I married young. I have worked hard, played hard and loved with reckless abandon.
So narrowing down the best 5 decisions that I have made thus far, well, it wasn't all that hard.
1. I refused to marry the father of my child.
Honestly, that's a tricky one. I did want to marry him - I loved him. I was 19, he was 20, and the pregnancy was a surprise. Unfortunately, he was a drug addict and extremely abusive. He cheated on me with a stripper 3 weeks before I was due to give birth and I walked away, closing the door to that relationship behind me. It was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. He tried to "get me back" many times over the next three years, but it was too late. After being together off and on for 15 months leading up to my daughter's birth, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I could never be happy with him. Due to my foresight, I avoided many troublesome years and ultimately married a wonderful man, who has been a fantastic father to my daughter.
2. Marrying my husband.
This might seem obvious, but at the time, it was quite the scandal. You see, we'd only known each other for 4 months when we began dating. Two months later, we began talking about getting married...within 7 months of meeting, we were standing in the courthouse, exchanging our vows. Why? Honestly, it just felt right. He was kind, considerate and wonderful to my daughter - and she adored him. He treated me like a princess, and within two months, I couldn't imagine not having him in my life. One day when he joked around about my marrying him so I didn't have to deal with traffic to go see him, I joked back that I probably should. Within a week, we were having a serious conversation about it, and a few days after that, I told my family. I got mixed reactions. My parents supported me 100% because they were so sure of my husband being a wonderful person. Our friends? Holy crap, that's a whole different story. In the ten years that we've been married, we have had our problems, but none of them have anything to do with not knowing each other very long before we got married. Our problems are the kind of problems that occur when you've been married for a long time! I still adore my husband, and he still treats me like a princess. I am glad I snatched him up when I did!
3. Walking away from Paychex to be a SAHM.
I had a well paying, secure job with a Fortune-500 company...I had excellent health insurance, a 401(k) match, and 3 weeks paid vacation a year...and it was making me miserable. As much as I loved what I did, the environment was extremely stressful and toxic to my well-being. I was absolutely miserable. My husband and I got to a point financially where I was able to quit working and stay home full time. Yes, we have debt, and yes, there are things we miss out on by not having two incomes - but I am so much happier and as a result, the entire family is happier. I will eventually return to the workforce - once the economy recovers and I have figured out what it is I want to do for a living...
4. Coming back to Miami after moving to NC.
When I was 18, I moved to western NC with my grandmother and worked with her and family friends on building a house. I thought that I'd love living there - it had always been my dream to get out of Miami and live in the mountains...I lasted about 5 weeks before I came running home.
5. Becoming a mother.
I got pregnant when I was 18, which was difficult in itself. Add to that predicament the fact that I was still living at home, working part time at Arby's and in my senior year of high school...oh, and the baby's father had commitment issues. I briefly thought about adoption, but the family pressured me and I ultimately decided to be a mom. This, above anything else I've ever done, was the single most important and rewarding decision of my life.