Time is a great teacher, unfortunately it kills all its students. It is an interesting concept to say the least, especially given the factual integrity of that statement. There is no doubt whatsoever that we learn our lessons reactively rather than pro-actively, given that we are too engrossed in the moment to absorb the lesson being learnt at hand.
Ironically, sometimes we base our actions based on well considered thought processes, even when we know that the decision we have made has been the wrong one. There are times when I ponder the moments that I made the wrong decision, and often find one reason behind them, fear.
Whether it has been due to fearing the consequences of my actions, or merely fear of the unknown, fear unfortunately, has played a rather large part in my decision making for as long as I can remember. When I was in my early teens, I made a decision to not do the right thing at that point in time, a decision which caused a great deal of emotional pain, to both myself and others. I feared the imminent physical consequences and the haunting threats and worse that would have followed suit had I chosen to do the right thing. Looking back, I was a mere child and it is in a way, understandable, though inexcusable in my own mind. It is a decision that I have regretted ever since, I allowed my fear to override my emotions and my sense of judgement, and I have paid for it daily ever since.
Most of my mental chaos and torment can be lead back to that decision, a decision that has haunted me since, and the pain that it has wrought on my soul, is impossible to quantify, such is the scale of the devastation it has caused in my life. To put it bluntly, at one point, it lead me to attempt suicide, albeit unsuccessfully, thankfully, my fear in that case, saved my life.
Another decision that deeply affected me was again made out of fear, this time I was in my mid twenties, and reality had struck well and truly hard. From being care free and easy going, I had to now face the realities and stresses of life. The responsibilities weighed heavily on me and I failed to cope. What was the happiest moment of my life, the birth of my first born child, also gave birth to one of the darkest emotional eras of my life, and to a great amount of fear.
When my eldest was born, I thought, I knew that I would do whatever it would take to be there for the child, to keep it safe, to give it everything in life it deserved and more, to give it what I never had, and all I had ever wanted. Then the fear set in, I began to question whether I was good enough, whether I would be able to keep my promises, whether I would be a good father, whether my burdens would be a cross for my child to bear. This fear lead to doubt, and this doubt lead to depression. Those closest to me believe that I suffered a male version of post natal depression, and honestly, it would explain a lot. I do expect that some might see this statement as both pathetic and controversial, but be that as it may, I have no doubt in my mind that it is the truth.
That depression lead me down an erroneous path where I made some of the most moronic mistakes and decisions of my life, mistakes that I bitterly regret to this day. Depression is something that I still suffer from to this day, though albeit not as severely. Thankfully I learned a plethora of lessons which have allowed me to somewhat rectify the mistakes I made, though I know I can never erase the pain I caused, and that weighs heavily upon my soul.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, decisions are easily scrutinised with such clarity because of it. The frustrating thing is that no matter how we make our choices, our decisions, we can never arrive at them with objectivity, clarity and logic. To do so, we would have to be able to take regular introspective looks at ourselves, and somehow remove ourselves emotionally from the equation, in order to be able to make the best decision. Humans however are emotional creatures, and thus renders the possibility utterly impossible, what can be done however, is to keep the lessons we learn at the forefront of our minds. Perhaps we might have made the wrong decision in the past, but should a similar choice and situation arrive, our past experience and decision, if given proper consideration, might ensure we make the right choice at the second time of asking.
The best thing to do however, is to not allow fear to mask your decisions and your judgement. Yes there are risks with every decision made, as well as consequences, and as such may have an impact upon your life. However, I honestly believe that sometimes it is worth the risk, worth trusting your judgement. I did, almost seven years ago, and it ended up being the best decision of my life. That decision gave me my wife and three beautiful children, that decision, back then was seen as an idiotic and childish one at the decision. What was that decision you ask? I proposed to my wife, two weeks into our relationship. I had told a friend of mine, on the very day I met her, that I could see myself marrying that girl. I was right, and I’m glad I trusted my judgement, because it was frankly, the best decision that I have ever made in my entire life.
Trust your judgement.