I had a Birthday! Gon’ Party Like It’s My Birthday! I have survived another trip around the sun. In the past I have done life lessons for every year of life. This year I want to do something different.
This year I just want to write about one thing. There are several principles that guide my life, but there is one experience that has impacted my very deeply. I can honestly say that it has changed my life forever.
I’d like to tell you a story. I have always been a great student. My family places a high value on education so there was no question that I was going to college. Of course, I was really excited about college and looked forward to this period of my life. I planned to major in Biology because I loved it and I planned on going to medical school after undergrad. My plan made perfect sense.
Like many high school seniors I read all the brochures and catalogues that came to the house. I searched through the lists of best colleges and wanted to go to a prestigious school. My top choice was Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. I interviewed for a spot in the next freshman class. I was overjoyed when I was accepted. Then something happened that changed everything: I was awarded a $100,000 renewable scholarship to the University of Minnesota.
My heart said go to Wellesley. That was my dream. My family (and just about everyone else) said to go where the money was. Such generous scholarships are hard to come by. Being only eighteen and very inexperienced, I went with the money. In the fall I started as a freshman a the University of Minnesota.
That was a first in many aspects. It was my first experience with depression. I hated every day. I can honestly say that it was the most miserable year of my life to date. U of M was huge. There were as many people in my General Chemistry class as there were in my whole high school. My grades were mediocre. I was miserable. Worst of all, I felt hopeless. I thought that my dreams of going to medical school (or anything else) were ruined. It was awful. It wasn’t worth the money at all. I felt like I had sold my soul for $100,000. $100 million would be one thing. That might not even be worth selling out on your dream. But I felt like a fool for selling out for a measly $100,000.
Every day, I regretted going there. I wished that I had gone to Wellesley, or anyplace else. I did survive the year in Minnesota but having that experience changed my life forever. I had felt the pain of regret and for the rest of my life I would remember it. Since that time I have let that pain guide my decisions. When considering a big decision I always stop to think, Will I regret it if I don’t do this? Will I look back and wish that I had taken a chance? If the answer is yes, or even if I suspect that it might be, then I jump in. I use this thought process for making purchases, taking jobs, having difficult conversations. I am always trying to avoid regret and I feel that it has guided me pretty well. Because I refuse to live with regret I am pursuing God’s calling even though I do not know where this path will lead.
Not that all of my decisions have been perfect, but overall, I live free of regret. I want the same for you. Follow your dreams. Don’t be ruled by fear. Don’t sell yourself for money. Do what scares you. Take a chance. It makes all the difference.
Live with no regrets.