Do you ever stop to think at how important the choices you make are and what impacts they will have on your future and for how long a single choice will impact you? Is there such an emotion as pre-regret?
Seems the older I get the more important my choices become; with my body changing at what feels to be a super accelerated pace, even decisions or choices about what to have for dinner seem to have such great impact on my life. Is the fun of choice gone once you hit 30?
Every decision comes with a choice; every selection of a choice that becomes a decision yields a consequence or outcome that usually leads to more. It is as if the days of whimsical, finite decisions you were making for three decades before are over.
When your 10-15 years old or younger even, it’s about instinct and impulse, the fast and furious years. From 16-19 as a man, your decisions are mainly made with other organs besides your brain and from 18-26 you begin to realize that your choices will shape your future, but still you lack the life experience to give you pause. By the time I hit 30, life decisions have become less instinctual, and more introspective. The results of my choices no longer melt away with the candles of my next Birthday cake; they linger.
My thoughts lately have been about the choices I need to make and will make. As mentioned in a previous article, I do not have too many regrets, so choices of the past typically do not haunt me; it is the choices I make now that I find terrifying. They also seem to be bigger, pre-30 decisions are much like a pebble thrown into a lake the ripples are small and the effect more localized, but the post 30 choices are more like throwing a boulder into a swimming pool.
I find it takes me more time to make my choices than it did in previous years, I find they come with pre-regret and the awareness that they shape decades of my future. Pre-regret is the “what if” feeling you get when you have almost chosen which path to take. This pause and this pre-regret I find terribly daunting. In many ways I miss the times when I made snap decisions where they yielded a positive or negative outcome never seemed to matter.
Do you lose the introspective dialogue again at 40? Is everything so damn serious for the rest of eternity? Do you ever get the whimsical back?
Food for thought – I hope this will open some meaningful discussion.