December 16, 2019

Decisions That Make a Big Difference



A life is a collection of events, happenstances, genetics, luck, and environment. It can be altered in a second by an accident or medical emergency. These factors are usually out of your control. But, a life is also the sum total of decisions that you make along the way. Regardless of age or one's present situation, certain choices affect what happens from that point forward. Here are some of the primary decisions that have shaped my journey.

People tell me I was rather odd in one regard: I knew what I wanted to do at age 12 and stayed with that choice for 40 years. A more normal occurrence is to struggle with the decision of what should be one’s life work through the teen years, into college, and maybe beyond. But, the first time I stepped foot into a radio station in Cambridge, Ohio at that tender age I was hooked. By fifteen I was a DJ after school and on weekends at a station in suburban Boston. Another dozen years of playing rock and roll records in various cities lead to a being a consultant and researcher.

I remained completely satisfied with my career choice until I stopped work at age 52. That I was able to discover my life’s passion for a career so young saved me a lot of struggles and uncertainty. The fact that I loved the radio business meant I was not going to a job everyday to earn money. I went to work everyday because I was passionate about all of it.

Today, it is much more likely someone will change careers throughout his or her working years. In fact, current studies suggest most people will change occupations between five and seven times. On one hand I can see that as a good thing. Different parts of one's personality and skills can be more fully used. Feelings of stagnation or being trapped are less likely. Of course, the risk is there is no opportunity to ever be at one place long enough to build much in the way of retirement savings. But, overall I see advantages in the willingness to shake up employment life on a regular basis.

Marriage must be very high on any list of important decisions. Your life changes forever. It is no longer just your life, but a shared life. You are at least partially responsible for every major choice that now affects at least one other person. Your ability to compromise, to become less self-centered, and to share will have a direct effect on the marriage’s chances for success.

I have been happily married for 43 years. It hasn’t always been easy; it isn’t supposed to be. But, the commitment we made to each other was forever and neither of us can imagine a life that doesn’t include the other.

As I noted in a post several years ago about Boomers and divorce the rate has doubled over the last two decades among those 50 plus. That post mentioned some of the reasons so I won't repeat them here. But, divorce among soon-to-be retired, or fully retired folks, is a serious social issue.

In addition to the obvious emotional pain, there are several unintended consequences for everyone: more people without the financial resources to survive and extra burdens on the health care and nursing home systems. I have no answers to suggest but know we must be aware that the breakup of a marriage among older folks is just as devastating as it is when young children are involved.

From our marriage came two daughters. If you tell yourself that getting married means big changes, hold onto your hat. Having kids makes the changes of marriage look minor by comparison. The primary reason for living, the center of your world, and the forces behind almost every choice you make from that point forward are different when you have children. Parents know the absolute love and complete terror that comes with children. At least for me (and my wife), there is nothing I have done that comes close to equaling the importance of the birth and development of our kids.

Very important has been the ability to maintain close relationships with both girls, and now, the grandchildren that have come along. To have all of us living within 15 minutes of each other affects each of us in positive ways. It has been great to see the grandchildren able to experience the blessing of interacting with two sets of grandparents on a weekly basis.

Another key decision happened very early in our marriage. My wife and I agreed to live by three simple financial rules. We would always live beneath our means, we would not follow common wisdom as it applied to our investments, and we would value experiences over things.

Over the years I have written several posts about this direction for our financial life. As we have moved from our early years together, through the raising childhood phase, to empty nest, and now retirement those financial decisions have proven crucial to our stability and enjoyment of our life together. 

The decisions I made were right for me at that time. If my circumstances had been different some of those choices may have been different. But, that is the amazing thing about life. Every one of us is different. At least to a degree we have the chance to shape and re-shape our life constantly. That makes waking up every morning exciting. What will the day hold and how can I shape it? What will happen that makes this a satisfying retirement?


OK, your turn. Look back on a key decision or two in your life. If you had them to do over again would you? Did your choices prove to be a good ones? If not, what did you do to put the mistakes behind you?


35 comments:

  1. That was yet another fine, thought-provoking post, Bob. Aside from getting married and having children, there are two other key decisions that had an enormous impact on my life (and my husband's, too). (1) Alan and I spent the first two years of our marriage clearing part of the three acres of property we bought before we we married and building our own home after work hours and on weekends. The fact that my parents had an open apartment they let us live in rent-free allowed us to live off my salary and use Alan's to buy building materials. Their generous gift made a huge difference in our timeline. Alan did most of the work, I did a lot (and learned a lot!), and family members pitched in when needed. Since we paid for the materials as we went along, we had no need for a mortgage which, in turn, allowed both of us to contribute substantially to our 401k plans from an early age and more easily fund other savings vehicles, as well. Having a home without a mortgage set the stage for financial security and early retirement. Would I do it over again? You bet I would. (2) Because neither of our families traveled except to visit family, Alan and I decided early in our relationship that travel would be a priority throughout our life together. That key decision brought with it a lifetime of unforgettable experiences, countless educational opportunities and heartwarming memories. We didn't realize at the time just how much that decision would positively impact our lives, but I'd have to say it was one of the best we've ever made.

    If I could add just one more thing . . . I agree that key decisions, like the ones you mentioned in your post, have a huge impact on our lives. But I firmly believe that the small decisions we make every day impact our lives more than most of us would think. It's through the small decisions that our character is polished, our integrity is defined and our priorities are solidified - for better or worse.

    Oh, and by the way, I STILL haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up!

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    1. Wow. Starting your life together mortgage-free is a tremendous stepping stone to success. You two were so fortunate. Plus, the satisfaction of building someone with your own hands must have been very gratifying.

      Betty's parents sold one of their rentals to us as our first house, below market-rate. That got us off to a nice start, but it wasn't mortgage free! I still remember the corners we had to cut to pay the bills on my meager DJ salary. We learned to love grilled cheese sandwiches.

      I completely agree that small, day-to-day decisions really shape the arc of our lives. Big ones set the stage but, it is what happens every day that forms a life.

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  2. Always had planned on becoming an English teacher but got married and had a baby instead! I had Andrew while very young, by choice, and it was an incredibly good decision for us! Then, At age 27,Ken was in chiro school and I began picking up his text books and got interested in science.While we were in Iowa,I then decided to go back to school--so I went to the local community college and signed up for NURSING classes. 2 years later, we BOTH graduated and thank goodness I had a career where I could get a good job, immediately anywhere! When we moved to Phoenix that year we NEEDED two incomes as Ken got started.. so my choice was life changing and saved us a lot of financial difficulty! Over the years I was inspired by the women and children I took care of during my nursing career.. When I look at what teachers have to contend with,I am very happy with my later in life choice to become a Nurse Practitioner. Life is what happens while you're making other plans!!!!!

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    1. I didn't know you had English teacher aspirations, but I knew of your nursing career. Yes, having two careers, one that can generate income immediately, set you up well. Knowing what my mom had to put up with toward the end of her teaching career, you made the right choice! She couldn't decide who were more difficult to manage, the children or the parents.

      I have to believe that being a nurse can be very satisfying. You are interacting with people when they are hurting and scared. Bringing empathy and hope are such powerful tools.

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    2. All I EVER wanted to do was become an English and Creative Writing teacher!!! NO interest in science AT ALL till age 27--the out of the blue those anatomy books called my name and my degrees have now ended up being in SCIENCE, of all things.Just proof to me that LIFE IS LARGE,WIDE,DEEP.. have to stay open to LOTS of serendipity and follow the clues when they appear.....

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  3. Probably the decision that changed my life the most is something I DIDN'T do. After high school I was going to go to the Ringling Brothers School of Art. I was accepted, had my tuition paid and backed out at the last minute. Couldn't leave home to go so far away. So I started a Junior College in town instead. If I have any regrets in life, that's the one and the what ifs are fun to think about. My husband who I hadn't met at that point in my life but grew up in a town near-but me spent a lot of time down in the area of the Ringling Art School during the time frame I would have been there, so I like to believe we still would have met. My whole life wasn't so much planned as it was lived by a series of default choices.

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    1. Was that the Ringling School in Sarasota? We have visited the campus and circus and art museums. It is quite an impressive complex.

      Early in my career I was offered a chance to leave an industry-leading company based in cedar Rapids, Iowa, to join a startup in San Luis Obispo, CA. I turned it down. I know my life would have been quite different if we had raised a family in coastal California instead of where we did.

      That startup company ended up growing much bigger than the company I stuck with. But, Betty and I agree it was the right decision at the time, and I'd make the same choice again.

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  4. The poem by Robert Frost was read to me as a young child. I never saw myself as making choices, but traveling roads. Some roads took me to great places, others dead ended for me and I had to turn around or look hard for an entirely different road. The most important choices I made? I could not put my finger on it, because the other roads were closed once I traveled the one that I did.

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  5. I think the biggest decision I/we made that didn't work out well was allowing my mother to send my brothers to live with us when Dave and I had 2 young and vulnerable boys. I knew they felt somewhat abandoned when we got married and moved quite a distance away from them. My step-father, Scotty, promised to take care of them when we moved East. He did until they split up and she kept custody. She didn't keep them long before we got a call saying she was sending them to us. We couldn't say no. We couldn't blame them for the disruption but, in hindsight, I wish we had said no. You can't undo those kind of mistakes. Fortunately, my sons have kept a loose relationship with their uncles, which I don't worry too much about but, I'm really glad they both live on the west coast. One of them has occasionally kept in touch with one of our sons and, I'm not very comfortable with it but, can't stop it. I'm grateful for the space between them, and me.

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    1. That is an interesting story, Barb. It could have turned out any number of ways, but I gather no lasting problems. I have two younger brothers; I am hard-pressed to imagine my parents saying, "here, you house them." That just sounds off. I am sure I would have made the same decision you and Dave did, but still.

      Is that why you canceled a trip to Arizona a year or two ago...too close to the West Coast? Just kidding.



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  6. Decisions that made a big difference for me:
    1. Leaving school at age 16. While most consider this a bad thing (it is) for me it worked out. I was terribly lonely and friendless during those years, I felt completely lost and I was failing almost every subject. I suppose these days I'd have been diagnosed with depression or something but back then it was buck-up or get out. That first job wasn't anything great, just in an office mailroom, but I felt useful and included in a way that wasn't happening at school.
    2. My first job change was taking up an apprenticeship in a trade. I figured with not all that much formal education it was something I could do to move ahead in life. It was a good thing, I picked up valuable skills and the pay was decent.
    3. Going back to school. After I completed my trade apprenticeship becoming a fully licensed journeyman, I thought I should try and complete my high school education at night school. Going back to school after nearly a decade gave me a whole new perspective and I ate it up, usually getting the top mark in every class. After several years of night school I received my diploma.
    4. Enrolled in university. Going to university, something that I thought was way beyond my capabilities, and I was much older than almost everyone else there. It meant quitting my well paying job in the trade, adjusting to the poverty stricken student lifestyle, and hitting the books in a way I had never done before but I had something to prove to myself.
    5. A few months before starting university I met the woman that I married and that I am still married to. That she stood with me all through university says a lot about her and I was lucky to have found her.
    6. After university I entered a career in IT, a career I stuck with for the next 34 years. That year I also bought a house, got married, and we had our first child. I am not exactly sure where that puts me on the life-stress chart but I am sure it is way up there.
    7. We had 2 children and as Bob describes there is nothing that prepares you for having children. I always tell people expecting their first child: "No matter what you think having a child is going to be like, and I don't know what you think it will be like, it's not going to be like that." Either way having children is certainly rewarding but it’s an adventure.
    8. I retired from my job, a corporate director of IT, 5 years ago and we now live the life we’ve always dreamed of. The pressure is off and we have the resources and our health to live comfortably without too much worry. We travel overseas, winter in warm climes, our 2 daughters live close by and we see our grandchildren frequently. We are so blessed to be able have a close relationship with our children and especially our grandchildren. Those are the true rewards of a lifetime I think.

    I’ve probably had as many career changes as most people though I do wonder about the “studies suggest most people will change occupations between five and seven times”. I consider that I’ve had 3 occupations – mailroom, journeyman, and IT but going back to that first job at 16 I’ve had many more employers than 3, at least 12. I don’t think I was particularly a job hopper either, I was with my last employer for 20 years but I had 4 different roles all in management. Is that 1 occupation or 4? If I move from one employer to a similar job at another employer is that 1 occupation or 2? These oft quoted studies are never very clear on that.

    As an aside one thing I did learn early on is that while corporations are big on asking for loyalty they aren’t very good at showing it, as soon as there’s a slowdown they are merciless at cutting staff and “doing more with less”. I’m not complaining, that’s the deal with corporations, but understand that the only people that really care about you is your family – live your life with that knowledge.

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    1. A follow up on that study: I think they mean changing occupations, like IT to teaching, or AC repairman to tax adviser. The generation before us was much more likely to spend 30-35 years with one employer, like GM, GE, or RCA. They certainly had job promotions but were with the same company, doing some form of the same work, which meant decent pensions and health care after retiring.

      Our generation was probably somewhat split, but younger folks don't seem to be nearly as concerned about putting in years with one company or even in one field. Things are evolving so rapidly and companies have little economic reason to show loyalty, hence the average of profession shifts the study refers to....at least that's my best guess.

      Your life story is fascinating because of the obstacles you overcame and a clear goal you were working toward. To go back for your H.S. diploma and then on to university at a time when you were much older than the typical student shows real backbone.

      I do want to point out the very valid option you mentioned of apprenticeship and trade work. Not everyone should go to college. The trades are a great fit for many, produce a very solid income, and give someone a skill that can be used almost everywhere. I'm afraid too many parents push a child toward college when other options may be better.

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  7. Hi Bob! You've made some very SMART decisions in your life and it's no doubt that they have affected you and your family in a positive way. I tend to believe that most people don't think that much about the BIG decisions they make on a regular basis but that truly leads to all sorts of repercussions. The big one is who we marry (or don't marry.) While "love" is certainly important, there are so many other things to consider. For me, one of the big choices was to marry a man who didn't want children. He was very clear about it and I knew he meant it. At the time I remember deciding that a very powerful relationship was far more important to me than children. And I still believe that--no regrets. I also chose to start writing in my early thirties with little or no education or training in the field. That too has led to so many happy surprises. Sure there are a few things I wish I had done a bit differently--but I also believe that we can learn much from our mistakes and failures if we are paying attention. Good post and very thought provoking--which I love! ~Kathy

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    1. I agree about big decisions. For most of us we don't really understand the scope of a decision and how it will affect our life until we look back at it years later and assess the choice made. We don't approach that key decision with the care that might have proven important.

      When we moved to Tucson in the early 80's I took a job I knew I wasn't really qualified to hold. But, I wanted out of the snow and cold of Salt Lake City. Within 3 months I was fired, had 2 daughters under the age of 4 and had to figure out how to support my family. As it turned out, that push to survive was responsible for my forming my own company that would carry the family very nicely for another 20+ years until retirement.

      Looking back, I realize how risky it was to take the original job and how lucky I was to get the new business off the ground. At the time, I just did what I thought I must. There was no real long range planning...just paying the bills.

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  8. As a young girl, I was not allowed to make decisions. I didn't realize it at the time of course, but for some reason, I was deemed to be too flighty, too unserious, to know what I wanted or what was good for me, and most decisions were made for me, both big and little.

    For example, my parents chose what musical instrument I would learn to play (clarinet) instead of letting me have my choice (flute). I became quite proficient at the clarinet (first chair in band, first place in music festivals, etc.) but I never enjoyed it and gave it up after a few years.

    Likewise for colleges, careers, etc. my parents set the parameters for which colleges I could apply to rather than let me decide where I wanted to go and also what career I would pursue (nursing). I worked for many years as a nurses aide and entered nursing school, but I finally figured out it wasn't what I wanted to do - it was everyone else's choice - and I dropped out. I didn't start making my own decisions until I was a young adult. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, some of them serious, but I learned from those mistakes and kept moving forward.

    The best decisions? My joining the navy in 1976 is high on my list and was life-changing. Finishing boot camp showed me I was definitely not the flighty, unserious girl my family saw (they had actual bets on how long I would last). I learned how strong and smart I was and that I could endure and finish anything if I set my mind to it.

    And of course, through the navy I eventually met Brett. It really was love at first sight for both of us, and our getting married has been my best decision. We're very different people, with different interests and strengths, but we complement each other and have always made a good team.

    Our best financial decision was Brett's staying in the navy through retirement. It was a difficult life, filled with long deployments where our son and I were on our own for months. We stuck with it enlistment by enlistment, but it has meant a steady income we could/can count on ever since as well as good medical and other benefits which have more than proved we made the right decision.

    Many might have seen our spending our retirement savings to adopt three children in our 40s as a poor financial decision, but it was the right decision for us, and we cannot imagine our lives without our beautiful daughters, and the joy all of our children have brought us is worth far more than anything. Our family is very spread out right now, and probably always will be, but we've remained a supportive, tight-knit group and we treasure our reunions.

    By the way, we've always encouraged our children to make their own decisions, and we respect them and cheer them on. We know they have to live with them, not us. We know we could have channeled their decisions so that we would have ended up closer together, or whatever, but they're all happy and doing well so we're happy too.

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    1. Heavens...really? Your parents may have been one of the first "helicopter" parents on record. I don't think I am aware of anyone I know whose parents took that much control over everything. The rest of your story is equally fascinating (Navy, adopting in your 40's and your life on the road now. I smell a book in there somewhere.

      Forgive my amateur shrink analysis here, but maybe the reason you and Brett travel the world the way you do is to have complete control over your life and prove to yourself that you are not at all the way you were perceived as a youngster.

      BTW, I played clarinet for 10 years, making it to the All New England Band a few times. I thought I would die going to Army Basic Training, but did so well I was the Honor graduate in both basic and Advanced Infantry Training School. Me? Oh, and I got the Sharpshooter award, too, even though I had never fired a weapon in my life before (or after).

      The point? We all have tremendous, untapped potential that only requires us to be given (or take) the chance to try. Sometimes those who love us the most need to understand that humans may do best with room to spread their wings!

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    2. My DH is 73 and his mother was a super helicopter as well. He was forbidden to attend the college of his choice (too far from home), told what instrument he would play (clarinet...what's up with clarinets? LOL), and as a consequence, has a very distant relationship with a woman who was still trying to control everything she could until dementia took over in her early '90's. It's sad, really, and an object lesson in letting our kids do what they will and live with their decisions.

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  9. A little tongue-in-cheek, but one of the happiest "key" decisions I made was to marry a man who loves to dance. It's a skill we take with us wherever we go, brings us great joy, and keeps the romance alive.

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    1. I can't let Betty see this comment. She was after me for years to learn to dance. We even took Arthur Murray lessons before a cruise. No help. Can't do it.

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  10. I notice that many of us are commenting about the wise decision we made to marry who we did and other big decisions. I did the same and that I married who I did was a truly good decision, however, it is worth reading this quote by the great cognitive and mathematical psychologist Amos Tversky.

    "It's hard to know how people select a course in life. The big choices we make are practically random. The small choices probably tell us more about who we are. Which field we go into may depend on which high school teacher we happened to meet. Who we marry may depend on who happens to be around at the right time of life. On the other hand, the small decisions are very systematic. That I became a psychologist is probably not very revealing. What kind of psychologist I am may reflect deep traits."

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    1. That matches a comment I made above. It is the small stuff of daily life that does so much to shape us. I went into radio because my mother took me along when she went to drop off a public service notice at the local station one afternoon. I met my wife on a blind date. I moved to Phoenix because it snowed in early June at my home in Salt Lake City. OK, so the last one was a big decision. But, what if it hadn't snowed that day in June? Would I have ever ended up where we have lived for the past 35 years?

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  11. So interesting to read this post and the comments. Rather than finish college my first time around, I decided to get married, leave my small town (might have been a tie there...I married someone I knew was going to travel), and have kids. Over time, I realized I was never going to have a job I loved until I finished college. So I returned in my 30's and finished my degree while working part time and raising three kids. My (now ex) husband had a drinking problem that I overlooked for years, but once I could support myself, it was as though a door opened for me. He didn't much like my independence, and one thing led to another and finally to me getting punched out one evening. That was the last straw for me. A divorce followed, 12 years of single parenting, a move to the W. Coast to join a business and make some decent money in the dot com era, and then a move back to the Midwest near family and a subsequent (very happy) 2nd marriage.

    Over time, I have looked back at some of my decisions and wondered if I would have done things differently. But I can't really think of anything I would change given the same circumstances. I suppose I could have married someone different in my youth, but then I wouldn't have my kids whom I love dearly. On balance, I feel I ended up where I belong.

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    1. That is kind of the overall message, isn't it Hope: we end up where we belong. Things in the universe happen a certain way for all sorts of causes, none of which we can really change. Things unfold the way they must based on circumstances.

      The little stuff? Yes, that is somewhat under our dominion, though even then other people and events can force our hand. But, the type of major life forces you describe happened the only way they could considering all the elements at work. We like to think we would have made a different choice at some point, but that is probably an illusion. At the moment we make a choice, there is a strong likelihood that is the only logical decision we could make.

      I applaud you for persevering and coming out as a winner. Happy holidays to you and your loved ones.

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  12. Unlike you Rob I had no idea where I wanted to work for the rest of my life (we could do that back then) and I took the first job I was offered at a bank and ended up staying there for the next 36 years. Things started out well for me but one day I decided to go into Commercial banking because that is where all the successful people went and I wanted to be just like them. It was a big mistake as that job wasn't a good fit for me but I was raised to never quit and I needed the job to support my family. I had to work long hours and had trouble coping with the stress of it all and it negatively affected the amount of quality time I could spend with my family something that I will always regret. But having said that things are much better today in retirement. I have found work that I love to do and the money I make I spend on adventures for me and my family which makes up for all that lost time while I was in the bank. Nice to be able to finish off with a happy ending and no regrets!

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    1. Finishing strong is a good way of living one's life. We do what we must until we can do what works better for us. Then, we make the most of our opportunities. My decision to take the Tucson job was kind of like your commercial banking decision. It offered a big payday but I knew it wasn't right for me. I took it anyway and paid the price.

      I traveled so much my children really only saw me on weekends for a good chunk of their early childhood. Luckily, during the turbulent teen years I was home much more and could be a steadying hand to help my wife with the load. Still, I regret being gone so much.

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  13. Taking the second job of my career was my biggest and best decision. Like most people, I was excited to get my first job out of school, but it soon turned into something was not enjoying in the least. I made a move to another job, where I stayed for almost 30 years. It gave me some very important things - a bunch of good friends that I am still in touch with. A great pension that has allowed me to retire earlier than most. And, best of all, the love of my life, whom I met at a meeting on the job 30 years ago.

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    1. A trifecta...3 wins from one decision. Congrats, Dave!

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  14. I don't see things in black and white, best and worse decisions. I made a good decision to get married the first time -- we had a good 20+ year run and produced two great kids -- but it was also a good decision to get divorced when things became irretrievable. I was then able to move on with my life and make perhaps my best decision, my current marriage. I was one who did struggle to figure out what I wanted to do professionally. Was it a good decision NOT to go to law school after I applied and got in to several schools? Probably. I don't think I was cut out for it. Was it a good decision to go into publishing instead? I had lots of successes, but you know what happened to the publishing industry, so it didn't end well. Anyway, life goes on. Perhaps my best decision still lies ahead of me!

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    1. I like you final sentence, Tom. We really have no idea about the importance and impact of any future decisions until after the fact. So, we keep moving forward excited about what may lie ahead. Judgement will come later.

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  15. Hello Bob,

    I’m beginning my 78th orbit around the sun. Like you, I followed my dream and never had a ‘real’ job. At age 15 I scraped up money from here and there to spend on flying lessons at our local sod-strip airport. If I was broke, I just hung around.

    Graduation from Junior College was decision time. What do I do now? What do I like to do? What do I really want to do? Fly. The U.S. Army was kind enough to accept me for helicopter training. My class went to Vietnam for our senior trip.

    Do you know how to pick out the guy who’s the helicopter pilot at a party? Just wait. He’ll come around and tell you who he is.

    From Uncle Sam I moved to one of the major players in civilian helicopter transportation, a corporation operating world-wide, particularly in the offshore oil and gas industry. That was my home for the next forty-five years. Flying low over some trees one day during my first year with them, the weather began closing in faster than expected. As it worsened, I decided it was safer to land in a field I saw beside a little diner. I shut down, went inside, ordered a cup of coffee and married the girl who served it to me. We’ve been together 51+ years now with two daughters and two grandkids.

    Kids, search for what has meaning to you and get good at doing it. Life won’t always be easy, but eventually everything will fall into place.

    In an interview before his death from cancer at age 62, the controversial Christopher Hitchens said: "Even with all the advantages of retrospect, and a lot of witnesses dead and gone, you can't make your life look as it you intended it or you were consistent. All you can show is how you dealt with various hands.’

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    1. The "how I met my wife" story is an absolute classic. No one in Hollywood could write anything more romantic.

      Doing what you love is so important. You (and I) found it and lived it. I wish everyone could be so lucky. It is one of the lessons I teach my Junior Achievement students each year. In 5th grade they really don't get its importance, but may be I plant a seed.

      Happy holidays, Ed.

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  16. Hollywood would have had me wearing a white scarf. Happy holidays everyone.

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  17. Interesting question, Bob, about good and bad decisions. I’m going to respond regarding the decision of whom I married. I didn’t marry the first three men who proposed to me. The first proposal was from my first serious boyfriend. He turned out to be a manipulative jerk, so it was the right decision not to marry him. The second was from a man I truly loved and had gone out with for five years, but he wasn’t faithful. So it was also the right decision not to marry him. The third was a close friend whom I liked very much, but I had just begun dating the man who later became my husband, so I turned him down. We are still friends, and he went on to become very successful in his career and he’s wealthy. The one I married, my first husband, died when he was only 39, leaving me to raise our three children as a single parent. Yet despite the grief of losing him and the difficult years of being a single parent, I would not change that decision. We had a number of wonderful years together and produced three beautiful children. I’m also very happy to have met and married my second husband, Rob, after my children were mostly grown up. We still walk around holding hands, with stars in our eyes.

    Jude

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    Replies
    1. Persistence, Jude.

      Being sure enough of one's needs and comfortable enough in one's own skin should be as much a requirement for marriage as a blood test. Unfortunately, those qualities can't be measured. So, we take a leap of faith and a bigger leap of our heart.

      Your personal history is inspiring. The best to you and Rob in the new year.

      Delete

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