For the last few months, I have been thinking and re-thinking about regrets. Two, in particular. One regret was not going on a mission, and the other was turning down a scholarship to Indiana University. I tend to live in the past, so it's really no surprise that I go back to other times and places in my mind and think about how I should've done things differently.* Lately, though, I have been going back to those times with more frequency than is probably healthy. I think -- I hope -- I'm done with it now, however, because just this week, two things occurred that helped me out tremendously:
The first was a discussion with my great friends Brooke and Rachel. I don't think they realized it, but as they spoke about why they did or didn't decide to serve a mission, I realized that my decision not to go was acceptable to the Lord and just as good for me as going. I'm positive I would've learned necessary habits and important social lessons more quickly had I served a mission, but what is time, anyway? What's the rush? I learned in perhaps three or four years what I could have learned in a year and a half, but maybe that's not so bad. There are people I didn't meet on a mission, but people I did meet because I skipped it. In the end, I don't think Heavenly Father cares whether I served a mission or not -- just that I learned what I needed to know. And I finally feel confident that I did.
The second helpful thing was a reminder of an article I read a few weeks ago: Was Malcolm Gladwell Right? Can you trust your intuition? In the article, the author makes a few interesting points, but I'll highlight only one:
For simple decisions without many factors involved (What soda should I buy?), be rational. For very complex or weighty decisions (What career should I pursue?), trust your gut.I know people could get into serious arguments about this idea (How do you operationalize "simple," "complex," and "weighty?" How does revelation fit in with this? What is "your gut?"), but I'm not going to indulge in that intellectualization. Instead, I'll just say that the idea is meaningful to me. That in some inexplicable way, it diminished a possibly paralyzing fear that I had used my agency incorrectly. When faced with the decision to move to one of two very good schools, I paid attention to a feeling, rather than to the facts and figures swirling around in my head. Clearly, the decision to attend UT was the hardest decision I've ever had to make; after all, it plagues me on a somewhat regular basis. I think I write about it every few months -- in my journal or on my blog -- to remind myself that I did what I needed to do.
*I once heard it as "should-ing all over yourself." Ha
Thing I'm thankful for: dinner with dad