“Hemos venido a patinar pero está cerrado. Nuestro gozo en un pozo!” “We came to skate but the skating rink is closed. What a let-down!”
I’ve been waiting a long time to use this one. Fortunately I haven’t had too many awful let-downs this year, but I think it’s fitting enough to describe the realization that certain decisions aren’t right and the emotions that come with those realizations.
It’s finally the end of 2018, a year of crazy ups and downs and new beginnings. As the year comes to a close, I’m reflecting quietly from my parents’ living room back in North Carolina about the year and all the decisions I’ve made. The overarching theme is that I’ve hit Life Ctrl-Z (or Cmd-Z on the Mac) a lot this year. This has had some major financial and emotional implications.
Example: Move into a great apartment on my own – undo – move to León with someone else with six months still left in my rental contract, losing a little money – undo – move back up north where I started, losing even more money in the process. Why? Impulsiveness and snap decisions partially based on someone else’s influence, and ultimately not listening to myself.
Example: Leave full time job to go back to school, get started and soon realize my savings won’t be enough – undo – start working again – change my routine and my ability to study plummets quickly, leading to failing assignments and ultimately needing to repeat multiple subjects.
Example: Sign on to do a master’s degree in a discipline that’s more programming-based than I can actually handle – decide after failing multiple assignments that this might be the wrong path – considering a Control-Z to reflect on next steps.
Honestly though? I’m not confident in the majority of the material I’ve learned so far this year, with the exception of HTML/CSS, which I’m really proud of (see my final project here). I’ve learned how to solve problems a bit differently, which is good, but being Of Letters only gets you so far when you need certain math skills to solve even the simplest programming problems. And hello, my goal was never to actually become a programmer. I’m looking to work in UX/UI or front-end development. On top of that, my school has just announced a master’s degree in UX design to start next fall.
These decisions are double-edged swords – not only do they affect my mental and emotional state, but they are all pretty significant blows to my financial goals, which I thought I was keeping up with pretty well. On a positive note, I’m not in any form of debt. Last time I had a decision crisis (2015) I ended up accumulating debt, and having to pay it down was a nice monthly punch in the face to remind me to make better decisions. However, I guess we could call these #firstworldproblems, being able to make impulsive decisions and not jeopardize the roof over my head or food in anyone’s mouth.
Realization of the week: The main issue is that this whole year I’ve been clawing at short-term solutions by making decisions that aren’t necessarily lined up with my goals. Or if I thought they were, they no longer are. I’ve got some big goal revisions to make and new goals to set for 2019. This post from The Three Year Experiment has given me some helpful insight as I think through goal-setting. I’d like 2019 to be a year of living with more intention and integrity, being true to myself and making more solid decisions so I can stop dropping my happiness in wells.