The Consequence of Choice

Last night I stumbled upon a show about wealthy people and their relationships. It was one of those so-called reality shows, the type where they show the awkwardly staged scenes and stuff.

I would have switched it off but one of the women caught my attention.

This woman had focused upon her career for so long that her biological clock was ticking, so she had entered into a romantic relationship with a man who was struggling financially with the goal of children in mind.

Wrong or right, many woman are forced to make the choice between having children and pursuing their careers in our society. I faced a similar choice.

Thirty years later, my children are grown. My youngest moved out, and after an adjustment period I embarked upon a new journey, a journey I would have started earlier if I had not given priority to my children.

Watching the clips in that show made me feel a pang of regret. If I had made a different decision, would that woman have represented me? Could I have avoided living in poverty if I had chosen not to have children? Was there some way that I could have juggled motherhood and not delayed my financial progress?

I don’t know.

I don’t know, and I realized that the questions were moot. I made the best decision I could using the knowledge that I had at that time.

They may not have had a lot of money growing up, but they had a mom who loved them, who actively chose to work at low-wage, easily attainable jobs so that, when pushed to choose between the job and the kids, the kids could win every time without financial risk.

I made that choice. It wasn’t a wrong choice, or perhaps even a right choice, but it was my decision, and I have no regrets.

When you make a choice based upon your best knowledge of the situation, then regardless of how things pan out, that decision is a wise one. It doesn’t matter if others made a different decision; we all live in unique situations. Comparing yourself to others is not only pointless, but a form of self-torture that’s best avoided.

What choices have you made that carried lasting consequences? Have you ever looked at someone who made a different choice and thought about the path you didn’t take? How did that make you feel? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

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5 thoughts on “The Consequence of Choice”

  1. We got married when we were only 19. That means we had to grow up within the marriage which we did not do at the same rate. It was hard. But, we’re still together 54 years later so it was the right decision in spite of the challenges. Even though I sometimes wish I had gone to college first and had those experiences it was still the right decision.

  2. Thank you I needed to hear this today. We are on the verge of a hard choice right now. We think we have chosen the correct path, but it is hard to try an imagine each path and decide which is the right way.

    1. As long as you have made the best decision you believe you can make, then reassure yourself of that every time the “second guess” demons come calling. You’ve got this!

  3. Annie, this post brought tears to my eyes. Bless you. I believe most of us are doing and have done the best we can/could have done, given the available information at any given time, as you have so succinctly stated. My Grandma used to say, “It isn’t right; it isn’t wrong; it just is.” Again, exactly what you have so eloquently expressed.

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