Tuesday, 24 March 2015

On Adult Decision-Making

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Help! It's happening... I'm growing up and having to make decisions that will most definitely affect my future... and probably my entire life forever. Okay, so I may be being a tad dramatic. The truth is I've got quite a big decision in front of me. I received my final university offer yesterday (from Exeter) and so I now have to decide where I'd like to go. I'm currently torn between Exeter and York and, although I know in my heart that wherever I go I'll hopefully have a wonderful time, it's still a very daunting decision to make.

Thinking about it today (because my mind's already gone into overdrive!) also got me thinking about all the decisions we make and how they shape our future. I find it funny sometimes to trace back decisions I've made and reflect on how they've affected my life. Deciding to go to the party where I met Harry when I wasn't really in the party mood, clicking with Josie when I joined my new sixth form last year and being introduced to her group who are now my best friends, the list goes on and on and the impact such decisions can have often leaves me overwhelmed.

They say that the decisions we make at this age will shape our entire futures. But I'm not sure I believe that our futures will be set in stone from the decisions we make now. Sure, in choosing to apply for a Philosophy and History degree, I'm slightly limiting myself from becoming a surgeon at the end of it. And yet I think that too much emphasis is put on young people in suggesting that there'll be no turning back after these decisions have been made. Twelve years ago I watched my Mum begin to turn her life around, to craft a life for us that would be better for the both of us. She went back to college, re-trained and became a psychotherapist; a job that she enjoys more and more every day.

I think that there's a lesson in that. That decisions don't have to be final. That they do, of course, matter and will shape who you are and who you become. But that they can be undone, and reshaped, and reset if you really take the initiative to do so. And that reinforces for me the empowering nature of the ability to make our own decisions. So, despite feeling anxious about having such a big decision in front of me, I am going to remember that, as is beautifully written by Henley in 'Invictus', "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul".

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