Monday, October 3, 2016
Question of the Month with Michael G. D'Agostino
On the first Monday of the month, Michael from A Life Examined poses a question. Here 'tis:
“What’s a decision you’ve made in the past that you know, logically, was the right decision to make, but which you still feel guilty or regretful about?”
In 2004, I quit my job as an assistant math professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, a career I'd spent many years in school to acquire. Yet, I had just given birth to my daughter (a day after turning in my final grades for that spring quarter). Everyone assumed that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. While that was true, I also wanted to write fiction. Teaching math at that level was a prestigious, well-paid, secure position, but...
I do feel guilty sometimes. As a writer, I've made less money in the past 12 years than I would have picking up change in parking lots. Yet, I have been there for my daughters. Whenever they got sick, whenever they needed to be picked up from school, whenever they needed my help for homework, projects, games, whatever, I am there. That's a luxury.
But it's not perfect. My kids are exceptional students and polite out in the world, but they are incredibly lazy at home. I've spoiled them. When I compare my independence at their age to what they do (or don't do) it's sobering. My mother worked. I did not resent it. In fact, I loved being home alone after school, ruining my appetite with all sorts of junk food.
If I could go back in time, I would not choose differently. How about you? Any past decisions you feel guilty about?