I’ll end this year of 202 with a thought on choice versus excuse. Are you a person who make choices or are you a person who find excuses? Cause the two paths are quite different. I believe a lot of us hide behind excuses instead of owning up to the fact that in the end, we made a choice. We say “I didn’t have time to do it..” rather than “I chose not to do it”. Blaming it on lack of time is easier than admitting that we took an active decision and decided not to. In the end, everything we do, every road turn we stand at, every up-or downhill we face on this road we call life is simply that – a moments choice. Do I or do I not?
So why the excuse and not the choice? In 99% of the time I would say fear. Speaking for myself, that would be the obvious answer. Fear of failure. I have had a couple of big moments in life where I had the opportunity to make a choice or to find an excuse. The first moment came straight after high school.
Since I was a teenager going on organised language trips to England in order to study the language (and have fun of course) I wanted to study abroad. Hell, during the Bros brothers glory days I wanted to move to the UK, get married and have their kids – but that’s another story so back to the studies.. The problem with that dream was that I hated school. I spent most of my high school days at my grandpa’s playing poker and smoking Pall Malls without filter. Why? Because my attention span was short and honestly, I was super bored. The teachers weren’t engaged and I didn’t think I learned anything useful anyway. Except for history (loved it, still do) where I sat in on most lessons or society and politics as the teacher was fun and I got to debate.. Besides, grandpa adored my company so who was I to deny him that? ☺️
So when I left high school, my grades were not “University material”. In the words of my class teachers “it’s not because she’s stupid (cause lord knows she isn’t) but she was never here”. Fair enough. But even if my grades had been University level, I would never have gone seeing I was too tired and bored to continue. So I found a job instead. Luckily, back then (sounds like the 16th century..) finding a job was somewhat easier than today. That choice, of not attending University but actually starting to work, was the first big choice I made in life. And one that has come to shape the rest of it in more ways than one.
The other big fork in the road came in 1998. It was the last year for me to apply as a mature student to a UK University. Trust me when I say that I had been reading the UCAS guide every year since High School and dreamt of applying but found myself to frightened to take the leap. I had dabbled with language studies (Modern Irish) at Uppsala university for one year (took leave on absence from work) but this was something bigger. This meant giving up the safety of being home in Sweden, a paid job and and finding someone who could rent apartment I owned. It was one scary decision to make. And let me tell you right here and now that if it hadn’t been for my boss at the time, Thomasine, I would never have done it. I wouldn’t have applied.. She was the one who kept nagging me, to keep asking me the right questions, who put the words “what have you got to lose” in my head. I sent in my application the very last day the envelope had to be stamped.. I never thought I would be accepted, but I was and off to Liverpool I went at the end of summer in 1999. Three years of amazing adventures and friendships followed and I am eternally grateful for Thomasine and her stubbornness. ❤️
After the two choices above, my future ones became less hard to make because in all honesty, if I could survive those, I’d survive anything. So my third big road bender wasn’t that big at all. That was when I decided that I wanted to work abroad. I’m lucky to have one of those jobs which offers the possibility of being posted abroad, not many do. And after being home in Stockholm for two years after University, I felt like it was time to move on. Again. And moved on I did. To Dublin, Hanoi, Budapest, Kyiv and Beijing. I would actively choose not to go home for the next 16 years. Probably out of fear as well. What would I find at home..?
The choices we make doesn’t necessarily have to be the right ones. I’ve made so many bad ones throughout the years. Choices that have caused me both emotional, mental and financial heartache. I’ve trusted people who let me down, I’ve been in love, I’ve fallen out of love. I’ve had extreme highs and gore like lows. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried and most of all, I’ve learned valuable things about myself along the way. Most of all I’ve learned that you always have a choice.
For 2021 I choose to BE the person who makes me happy. I choose to let life surprise me and see where it will take me. I will tell my daughter that she matters everyday and teach her that the choices she makes will guide her through life. And I will constantly remind her that if the path she is on doesn’t feel right, to make her own one. ♥️ And that I will be right behind her. No matter what.
Wishing you all a happy ending to an extremely weird year and an exciting beginning of a new year full of surprises and choices to be made. ☺️
Love from Stockholm ♥️