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?

28 comments:

  1. No regrets here. My mom was at home too, but she didn't spoil my sister and me. We had chores to do for which we got no allowance. Mom figured the things we needed to do around the house were things that were required to live relatively comfortably... clean dishes, clean clothes, things put away needed to be done daily, it was part of living. We got paid for other kinds of jobs around the house like yard work, cleaning out a closet and things like that. Taught me responsibility.

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  2. I can absolutely sympathize. I chose to stay home with my son too, and I'm writing fiction. I'd never change my decision and give up that time with him, but we'd be a lot more financially secure if I worked.

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  3. There are so many different paths my life could've taken, but I can't regret those untaken paths too much. I wouldn't have exactly the same life had I, e.g., stayed with my grandparents through my senior year of high school instead of moving up to Massachusetts to attend a third high school. I might've been back in Pittsburgh for years had I stayed there, since I certainly would've gone to Pitt for undergrad, but there's nothing stopping me from moving back to Pittsburgh someday.

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  4. Tough choice, but being there for your kids is important. Few mothers get that privilege anymore.

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  5. I feel guilty and regretful about marrying my ex-husband for too many reasons to list here. I'm in a good place now, though, and I wonder if I would be here if not for that colossal mistake. I try not to mess up my present with ghosts from the past. Good question.

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  6. That is an interesting perspective. I continued working as a teacher when my children were little. I didn't want to stay at home until I had my third. I made the right choice staying at work for me and they loved having me teaching in the school they attended as teenagers. In the long run, it made us very close. But it was also exhausting.

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  7. I couldn't think of something for this question, so I skipped it. :\ There are certainly things I feel guilty about, but I don't think I would've discussed them on my blog.


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  8. Be able to be there for your kids is sure a win. I need to find me some parking lots to pick up cash haha

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  9. That's the type of question that really makes you think. I always try to make the best decision I can at any point, so I'm not much into second-guessing myself. But (isn't there always one of those LOL) I'm more apt to make an emotional decision than an analytical one. My other half is very logical, however, so you can imagine our joint decision making :)

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  10. Summed up by Hamlet, To be or not to be

    There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. However a strong bond and relationship with your daughters are invaluable. I'm sure you made the right decision.

    With writing, I'm glad you started earlier than myself. I've learned much. But I don't know that I will ever be that good. It takes time to be good.

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  11. You did the right thing. You only have your children's childhoods once, but a job is a job. Although I can understand having some regret over giving up a good job that you like.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  12. Switching or leaving a job is always hard, but if your life is improved in any way by it, it's probably worth it.

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  13. I like to think that my past decisions made me the person who I am today, so I can't say I really regret anything in my past. Are there things that I wish never happened? Absolutely. But again, my past experiences made me the person who I am today.

    Thanks for this post!

    www.ficklemillennial.wordpress.com

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  14. I stayed at home with my children. Sometimes I regret not having more of a career because when I got divorced, I couldn't find a job. Being at home with the kids had a lot of advantages, though. The young ones get sick frequently. I was always there for them.

    Love,
    Janie

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  15. Hindsight is always 20/20. But I think you made the right decision. And if writing is in your blood and it makes you happy, it's better than being in a job just for the money. I gave up a lucrative career to become self-employed and although it hasn't always been easy (that's an understatement), I'm much happier than I would be in a career that drove me nuts and stressed me out to the max.
    Plus being there for your kids is so important. I hope they appreciate the spoiling...

    Michele at Angels Bark

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  16. It's always important to keep moving forward. But being able to be with your kids when they were young? I have a feeling that's something you'll be grateful for later in life. Money is great, but that time with the people you love is priceless!

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  17. I sometimes think that one has regrets whatever decision one makes. It's the question of - maybe life would have been better if I'd done that other thing.

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  18. Brave choice you made. I kind of made the opposite (and less brave) choice, having physics and mathematics as my job, and literature and writing as a great hobby >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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  19. I have many regrets but, since the past can't be changed, try to make better choices nowadays. 👵

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  20. Well, I also have some bad experienced in the past like this thing, and it was the worst time for me while I'm still doing a lot of things in my life. So, while working with SpeedyPaper discounts at my office, I did realize to think of another better thing to use.

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  21. There are a lot of bad decisions in the past that I don't really regret doing because it has shaped me to be who I am today. I have read a lot of stories from http://www.education.com/question/advice-cv-editing-services/ regarding making a bad decision and I must say it's always a learning experience.

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