I hate “what if’s”, life is full of consequences – good and bad – and I just don’t like to think of the way things COULD have been. I’m not a coulda, woulda, shoulda kind of girl. But sometimes, when it’s late at night and I am feeling especially sorry for myself for one reason or another, I think “what if”.
Last night I was in some discomfort from my wound and feeling a bit depressed over the idea of it not healing *ya thanks Home Care nurse, I could have told you that* and I made the mistake of letting my mind wander. I thought back to where one of the biggest changes came in my life and almost immediately I knew.
In my last year of University, I knew I hadn’t gotten into teachers college – my grades had slipped and I didn’t have nearly enough volunteer experience to make me worthy of a Ontario College so I began to think of possibilities. I knew Buffalo and Australia were possibilities, but I honestly had NO desire to spend $20,000 to go to school since Trent had cost $25,000. Now I had never been anywhere in my life – ever. I may have been to Buffalo once or twice, and Ottawa on a school trip, but really when you are born in raised in Toronto – none of these places bring on excitement. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to go overseas to Korea or Japan and teach for a year and see where that brought me. I had started dreaming of this, even possibly bringing Filipino boy with me since he didn’t have a career that he was invested in at the time, but also in reality I think I knew we weren’t going to last, that we had started to grow apart. One of my old roommates had discussed this possibility as well and I knew me and him could go together and we would have a blast supporting each other.
But the dream that had been mainly private up to that point came crashing down, when in November 2003 I got a phone call from my sister-in-law. My dad had been admitted to the hospital, it didn’t look good. I had to get home immediately. I got Filipino boy to pick me up and I came home to a disaster. My father had full fledge Diabetes, kidney failure, heart failure – you name it he had it. He was minutes away from death when he was admitted. He went on dialysis (four times a day at home thank you), insulin and an array of medication that would keep him alive. I had never been so scared in my entire life up to that point. All my plans immediately fell through the window. I knew that since I was graduating University that coming April, that I would move home and take care of my father. The way he took care of me when my mother left in 1994 and I was a 13 year-old girl lost and confused in the new world of being a teenager.
My dad came home before Christmas and was re-admitted after Christmas for further heart problems. He was released sometime in January after I had already gone back to school. I never mentioned my dreams of travelling the world, of experiencing Asia to many people because they would try to tell me to go – to “do me” – that my dad would be okay.
I thank God every day that he was and still is, okay, that he lived through that devastating time – and again last August when another Heart Attack brought him back to the Hospital for another 5 weeks. But I just know I never would have forgiven myself had I gone to Asia and something had happened to him. If he had died while I was away travelling and having a grand old-time. I would have regretted it every single day.
I have had other options of travelling to teach (Nevada when I got my teaching degree from Medaille College in 2007) but it was never the right time. I missed my opportunity. Please do not get me wrong. This is not a regret. I just wonder what if I had gone to Korea or Japan to teach, how would my life have been different?
For starters, Filipino Boy and I would have broken up three months sooner than we did. I would never have dated douche bag who spent seven months emotionally tearing me apart while my self-esteem swam in the toilet and I would not have kept my job with the City of Toronto. It’s that last one that makes me okay with my final decision. Starting as a summer student with the COT allowed me to work my way up, by networking and making great connections with people. I now (8 years after graduating) have a job I love. It’s not a teaching job, but it’s a job where I get to help people change their lives by finding last employment in careers they love. It’s an important role – one I wish was more recognized, but it IS important so I consider myself a success.
Depending on how long I stayed overseas, a lot of other could have and would have changed in my life. Me and GBF might never have dated and probably would never have gotten to be as close of friends as we were before dating, I never would have met the ladies from baseball who are some of my closest friends today which means I never would have met Newbie. I also never would have become as close to Crazy Cat Lady and that (and meeting Newbie whom has changed my life forever) is not acceptable.
So while I would have had worldly experience, fulfilled my love of travel and spent time learning a new culture and teaching!!!!!! I would have lost out on so much more. I’ll take the good with the bad. I’ll accept that I am where I am supposed to be. That happy or not happy, God has a plan for me, and that plan was not to teach overseas. I accept that. However, now maybe you can see why I was awake half the night thinking of all the opportunities I missed out on and what opportunities I would have missed out on had I gone.