Friday, February 5, 2010

Decisions, decisions

I think everyone in his or her life has a difficult time. You know, the time where you made bad decisions. Maybe you hurt someone. You most certainly hurt yourself in some sense of the word hurt. I, like most others, went through such a period.

In 2005, I graduated from law school. It was the last hurdle in what had been a long-standing dream of mine to become a lawyer. Well, the last educational hurdle. There was the pesky bar exam. Now that was the last hurdle. Oh wait, I had to find a job. You see where I am going with this. I finished law school and felt, for the first time, lost. I had to study to pass the bar exam. I had no job. I would have to pay back this exorbitant amount of money that I borrowed in order to realize my dream. My reaction to this stressful time in my life? Make bad decisions. So I did. I now refer to 2005 as my "year of bad decisions."

Some of them didn’t have long-lasting ramifications past the next day hangover. Some did. One stuck around til mid-2008. However, most people, myself included, begin to see how bad decisions affect their lives. Some may just get tired of living a life of constant apologies. Some may have near-death experiences. And some, like me, just have a sudden moment of clarity. My particular moment was on a hot July night in 2008. I’d spent the evening with good friends and wine. I came home to what I’ll refer to as "my ultimate bad decision." His reaction? Blowing up in typical fashion. Mine? Clarity, followed by a firm decision to end things. I was done. I was taking my life back. No longer would I allow this bad decision to rule my life. Oh yeah, I was tired of apologizing too.

In all honesty, we learn and grow from that tough period. We gain wisdom. We usually become better people. We also learn that, unfortunately, there are casualties of these bad decisions usually in the form of friendships or other relationships. These types of break-ups stem from people who just cannot see you past your mistakes. And truthfully, perhaps these casualties are not so unfortunate. It is through the difficult times when you realize who you truly are, and more importantly the type of person you strive to be. If a friend can’t last past this period of self-discovery, then so be it. It’s her decision, not yours, and one with which you should not burden yourself. So they become part of the past. Ghosts, if you will.

So you let go. Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Understand that forgiving yourself is crucial, not making others forgive you. See the error of your ways. Embrace those who are still by your side, and be grateful that you have met those people along the way. If the ghosts come back to haunt you, beware. You are a different person today than you were when you met them. It is possible that there is a place in your life, but likely not.

So, here I am today. I don’t always make the right decision, as last weekend’s hangover suggests, but I make the right one more times than not. I am learning to forgive myself for my mistakes. Most importantly, I try to tell the people in my life how much they mean to me, and how grateful I am for their support. And the ghosts that reappear? I recommend shooing. Or hitting the ignore button on facebook. Works for me.

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