Sunday, May 25, 2008

Decisions, decisions...

Hello out there cybersurfers!

I tend to reflect and analyze alot. I'm pretty sure I keep it on the sane side of obsess, but I do think alot about how I got where I am. I think we all do this to some extent, but how we see ourselves certainly impacts how we view our journey to this point. As I read through Amelia's list of experiences not to forget, I thought of the experiences I have had that have shaped my life to bring me to this point. I have explicitly done this multiple times. Especially, when I am not sure where I am going, why I am doing one thing or another or who I am/should/want to be. It has helped me to make the right decisions and stand confidently in or change the decisions I have already made.

1) When I was about 11 years old, I quit working for my Dad. This wasn't the sort of thing where I talked to him and we decided I should work somewhere else or I had a better offer...I told him, through tears, "I QUIT!!" I hope, if this happens between me and my child, I have the strength to handle it just like he did. He simply said (to my Mom, because I was in the next room scared to talk to him), "I'm proud of him. He obviously knows what he wants to do or doesn't want to do." He never said I shouldn't have done it, that I had done something wrong or that he was even mad at all. He was proud I had made a decision and stuck to it. I can never thank him enough for that.

2) My last competitive individual race in high school. I ended up breaking the school 300 meter hurdle record. As I was crossing the finish line, I knew I had just finished the fastest race I had ever run and so I slowed up the last two steps. Even though I broke the record, a guy that had only competed once before didn't slow up the last two steps. A photo finish revealed that he had beaten me by four one hundredths of a second. To put this in perspective, the fastest I have ever been able to start and stop a stopwatch is 7 one hundredths of a second. As a result of me slowing up those two steps, I never had a chance to best my own record. As proud as I was of that record, it was always tinged with the memory of those last two steps.

3) The last day of my first season as a captain and one of two times I have ever truly been scared on a boat. I arrived at the dock in the morning and the weather was quite stormy. I ran the smallest boat in the fleet and felt that I shouldn't go out with the weather as it was. However, being young and not wanting to make a rookie mistake, I wanted a second opinion. The other captains were going out and my customers felt comfortable, even though I had done my best to paint a gloomy picture. The office told me I had to go if my customers wanted to. So I let them make the decision against my judgment and we went fishing. Most of the day it was stormy, but not unsafe. However, on our way home the water became so rough I could not make any headway against it without most of the boat coming out of the water on each wave, which was not good at all. I had to wait 20-30 minutes for a bigger boat to come along and knock the waves down, so I could follow. The entrance to the channel was being swept by breaking waves. I knew my boat could not handle being hit by one of these and it was too slow to sneak through between waves. In effect, I had to surf along the front of a wave and make a turn into the entrance. I made it, but, the point is, I should never have been there. Had I made my own decision, I wouldn't have.

Lessons learned:
1) When you have confidence in your decisions, people will support you.
2) Give everything you have when you have the chance, it may be your last.
3) When someone else makes a decision for you, you still have to deal with the consequences.

There are a multitude of events and moments that have shaped my life and I could go on, but the point is that we are put into our current situations due to decisions we have made. At any point, we can make decisions to alter the current course of our lives just as we have made decisions in the past to arrive at the present course. The three instances above have shaped my decision making and I think of these past moments when making other decisions. A very good friend of mine shared with me a saying his Dad passed along to him: Make good decisions, so that you don't have to deal with the consequences of bad decisions.

None of the instances above I would say are terribly positive, but their impact on my life has been. If they had been handled differently, they may not have had the same impact or even been memorable. I'm not what I would call terribly religious, but I strongly believe that god does not put people in situations which they cannot handle. These are simply tests for your decision making.

I hope all of you have those moments you can point to that have shaped your life and they make you smile. Mine certainly do.

1 comment:

Mom and Dad said...

Moments to remember....