Do you ever consider all the different "what ifs" in life? What if you'd made this decision...dated that person, took that job, gone on a trip...
I tend to think about this a lot. But in one certain context. Jobs/careers, etc. I think this is the case because of the extreme importance that was put on working and self-sufficiency as a kid. way more than anything else like who you date, education, whatever. Yet mom also said "do what you love"
The problem for me is that I love a lot of things. I consider myself a bit of a "jack of all trades, master of none". Could also be that I'm too lazy to put too much work into any one thing.
I love helping people, nature, art, geography, adventure, faith, activity, kids, animals, and the list goes on.
Last year when Bill and I travelled to AZ we visited a few state and national parks and hiked. I LOVED it. I loved being there, hiking, and watching the park rangers in the educational component, the manual labor, etc. Even Bill said that he could see me being a park ranger. However the midwest doesn't lend itself to many national parks. In another life.
I was in youth ministry for a while. Literally in another life. I used to always want to do missions trips. Summer long like many people I knew. To western Europe, Haiti, Africa, Asia. However the expense seemed insurmountable (how do people afford it?) and asking people to sponsor me was unthinkable. I can't even bring myself to ask someone for an Asprin, much less hundreds of dollars for a trip. Funds have kept me from lots of adventure. Of course now I have the funds and there are other tethers right now.
And you know how much I love animals. In high school I wanted nothing more than to be a veterinarian. Senior year I even did an internship with a large animal vet. Through that I learned that while I loved the work, it took an awful lot of years of schooling and thus money. Also it takes a lot of memorization and attention to detail, neither of which I am any good at.
I have thought at various times that in another life I could have been a weatherman, a bakery shop owner, a fitness instructor, an adventure guide, a stewardess, a photographer, a musician, a horse trainer, a soldier, and the list goes on.
And yet where I am is nowhere I had ever dreamed. A professional counselor. A mom. A wife. And I am happy and satisfied in each of these roles. I love the purpose, the inspiration and the challenge in each. And yet they allow me to continue to dream of what else could be. Who will my son be and do with his life (ball player, father, doctor, teacher, farmer, president...?). What goals and places will my husband and I still pursue together. What else can I do in my professional life. Will I get to use things I love in professional practice to help people one day...music therapy, equine assisted therapy, activity as therapy, volunteer to counsel missionaries...limitless the possibilities.
I don't get another life. Just this one. in different phases. And I intend to make the best of it and allow it to lead me to further places I never imagined.