When Mistakes Happen

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                                                                         We all know that mistakes happen  and we all know that we’re not supposed to dwell on them – easier said than done, right?  Today I misread a text message for a meet up at 11:30 (I thought it said 1:30 and we missed the show). Tickets were wasted, people were upset, I was upset with myself and almost lost the whole day thinking the whole day was ruined because of it.

My mind has been reeling all day trying to find the reason that this happened and I can’t see it. Why did this happen? Why can’t I just go back in time and fix it? This is probably the most frustrating thing about making mistakes. We can’t really fix them, only learn from them, hopefully.

Today, instead of doing the thing that I was looking forward to all week my husband and I made our way to several optical stores to find him some new glasses. We eventually found a nice pair and I spent about an hour wandering around Target while he had his eyes examined – a pretty sad consolation prize to my original plans, I must say.

Sure, we got the glasses and then we had dinner together and watched a movie, but I am still guilt-ridden and baffled by my mistake. I have no idea what the lesson could be here: Check text messages more closely? Be more diligent with eye-wear upkeep? Be thankful for Target?

The closest I think I can come to a rational answer is that it’s important to remember that mistakes happen but we can’t dwell on them. There was nothing I could do – I missed the time and made a mistake. Dwelling on it could have ruined my day completely but instead we were productive and still had a great day together.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.  See anything I missed?

 

How To Be A Thirty-Something Snob

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In a funny conversation this morning,  a friend told me that his Sunday plans got changed;  his Dungeon Master was out of town and his Dungeons and Dragons game had been canceled, so he was just going to play video games all day instead. I had to laugh. What kind of thirty-something utters such a sentence? But then I thought, what am I doing that’s so much more “thirty” than him?  Grocery shopping and blogging.  So I’m a better thirty-something than he is? What a snob!

Now I feel bad that I judged him, like some sort of thirty-year-old elitist. And now that I think of it, my day sounds a lot “older,” compared to having a laugh with a bunch of friends.

Strangely, I actually like grocery shopping. I find it fun to get a deal and it’s great to come home and see all the pretty produce in the fridge and imagining the meals I’ll make through the week. I love doing errands at Home Depot and coming home to write my blog. I don’t think I would enjoy Dungeons and Dragons on my Sunday afternoon.

I suppose I can say, “To each his own,” but I think it’s something more. I write all the time about the expectations we have and what society expects of thirty-somethings. It turns out, I’m just as bad and I have my own impressions that have led me to judge.

Of all people, I should have known better.

Being thirty is whatever you want it to be and, as I’ve learned, it’s also partly about fighting the expectations and stereotypes that people have of adulthood. I think that breaking these associations is important for everyone who thinks that turning thirty is a crisis. When we see that we can still play games and play house the way we have always wanted, we can see there’s nothing to fear.

I guess I’ll just chalk it up to experience points.

 

How To Choose in the Face of Too Many Choices

         Image   Don’t you ever wish that someone would just make the hard decisions for you? Isn’t it great when you ask someone where they want to eat and they give you an answer? Isn’t it much more fun to go to the movies when you already know what you’re going to see, rather than him and haw or argue between chick flick or dick flick?

In her TEDtalk,  How to Make Choosing EasierSheena Iyengar talks about the phenomena of how too much choice can create negative consequences and even stop us from making decisions altogether.  Another speaker, Dan Gilbert, explains in his talk, The Surprising Science of Happiness, that freedom of choice causes us to rethink or doubt our decisions, leaving us anxious and unhappy. He found that by putting limits our decision-making (giving us less choice) we sidestep these issues and we accept the facts and move on, which actually makes us more satisfied and happy with life’s outcomes.

  Beyond the implication Iyengar suggests for us in the supermarket,  I imagine the relationship between this and arranged marriages, communism and other political ramifications.  I marvel at how I might start to appreciate my limited selection on the Canadian version of  Netflix.

But I also wonder how limiting choices and decisions affects ambitions. We make choices every day that affect our future. In the Western world we are told we can be whatever we want. Everyone seems to be looking for wealth and celebrity because we are told we can have it.  But we have so many choices of paths for how to get it.

So how can you be sure that the choices you are making today are the best for tomorrow?

For me, part of making the choice to do what I do now came from eliminating options, rather than gathering them. I eliminated teacher, librarian, newspaper journalist, editor but I knew I wanted to be surrounded with writing and books. I landed on blogger/ freelance writer…eventually. And I think this is what Gilbert and Iyengar are talking about to a certain extent. When we are faced with fewer options, we are happier with the decisions we make and we are more capable of sticking with our choice. Every time I think I made the wrong choice I remember the reasons I eliminated the other options and it helps me push ahead.

If you’re unsure of your path or faced with an overwhelming number options it may help to eliminate first before you make your final choice.  And if you do decide that it was the wrong choice, years from now, hopefully you at least learn something about yourself and get closer to your true purpose and achieving your goals.

I’d love to hear your comments and ideas.  What have you eliminated or how has this method worked for you?