“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy.” -Leo Buscaglia
A friend of mine got engaged this September. Previously, she and her fiance agreed that they both did not want children. But recently she’s been wondering about whether or not she’ll regret this some day–when she’s older and it’s no longer physically possible.
Mere nights before I discussed this with her, I read some discouraging research about the effects of parenting on happiness: Daniel Gilbert reports that “parenting makes most people about as happy as an act of housework.”
I suspect that’s not universally true, and I still want children. But part of me can’t help wondering how I’ll feel after I actually have them–if I’ll feel it was the right choice in the right time.
It’s instinctive to wonder how we’ll feel down the line–to some extent, it guides our decision-making process. But the reality is, no matter what choice we make, there will be pros and cons. And on some level, we will likely imagine how life might have been if we took a different path.
We have limitless choices in life, and every one is simultaneously a decision to do one thing and not do something else.
Choosing to be a home owner is choosing not to have the freedom of a month-to-month lease. Choosing to accept an exciting, demanding job is choosing to have less time to yourself than you may have had otherwise.
We can either stress about everything we might miss by following our instincts, or trust that we are making the right decisions based on our wants, values, and priorities.
Of course, this assumes we are able to hear and trust our instincts. It presupposes we’re willing to look within and then honor what we find.
Today if you find yourself worrying about the path you’re taking, remember: You made this choice for a reason. You can only enjoy it if you choose not to stress about it.
Photo by Cheryl.R