The life we choose.

I’m not sure if it is the fact that the celebration of my thirtieth year on this planet is fast approaching, or the fact that our wedding is even more quickly approaching, or more likely a combination of the two, but recently I’ve begun to think about my life and the decisions I’ve made.
Not in the ‘oh god should I be marrying this man’ way. No. On that note, I’m certain that I’ve made the right decision.
It’s more about the realisation that I will never again live these last thirty years. Mostly I’m worrying in relation to my education and career and thus, life choices. They are done. I cannot rewind and change the degree I did at university, nor can I change the jobs that I have done since then, that lead me to the place that I am now.
When I was growing up I had all of these aspirations. They changed daily of course, but they varied from high flying lawyer, through riding instructor, to librarian (what? I like books), via vet, meteorologist and spy (I lived near GCHQ), and on to stockbroker (which was the most ridiculous of all – I am BAD at maths).Yet, here I am at thirty, having done none of these jobs. And suddenly I feel like it’s too late. Until now, I’d always thought I was still young, and still had time to do all of these things at some later, undefined point in life.
Now though, the life choices that I’ve made mean that doing any of those things, whilst not entirely impossible, would be extraordinarily difficult. And I’m ok with that, I really am. I don’t have a need to go off and do any of those things NOW, more that I wonder what would have been if I had have done any of those things when I was ‘supposed’ to. Whilst watching an old re-run of Spooks the other day I actually, really, felt a little tinge of sadness that I would never be a young up and coming spy in GCHQ, travelling the world and upholding justice. This is just one of the dreams that I have to put to bed.
It’s not that I have regrets, because if I hadn’t have led the life I’ve led so far, I wouldn’t be here, now, with all of the experiences and friends that I’ve picked up along the way (and also, more importantly, would never have met the man that I am soon to marry). I just am beginning to realise that you only have one life, and the yes kids, your grandparents were right, it really does fly by without you noticing it. 
With all of the talk of A-Levels and GCSEs I want to run out and shake (and hug of course) all the teenagers who have these frankly, HUGE choices in front of them. I want to tell them to really think about what they want their life to be like, and then go ahead and do it. Don’t think that you’ll get around to it one day, do it now, because one day never comes.
And lastly can somebody tell me, when did the switch happen between ‘oh I’d like to do that’, to ‘oh, I hope my children get to do that’!? Because recently, I’ve noticed myself thinking that.  Scary.
I want to end this on a really positive note, because I really don’t want you all to think that I’m whining about my life, I’m truly not. I have a pretty amazing life, and have been spectacularly luck in a lot of ways. I live overseas, which was definitely something on my list of things to do. I’ve met amazing inspiring people. I’ve travelled. I get to marry one of the most mind blowingly wonderful men (soon. Eeek.) and I have so much more ahead of me. I just sometimes think of all of the lives that I could have led, and it makes me a little bit sad that I only get one go at this whole life thing.

Categories: Life Experience, Marriage
6 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I'm with you on this one, sometimes I could kick myself because I missed out on so many opportunities. I was too scared to take the gamble which is ridiculous because I never had a mortgage or children back in them days – I had nothing to lose.
    Oh well at least I'm happy without all those expectations I put on myself as a child. I'm not going to give up though because it's never too late, look at JK Rowling

  2. Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    This post is definitely thought provoking. I'm only young, but I have the responsibilities of a much older person. Through choices that I've made that, like you, I don't regret.

    However, because of my age I see all those I went to school with walking out of uni at the moment after a four or five year degree with a masters, or as an architect. Hell, one bloke I knew just got a 1st in Forensic Science.

    I can't say I love my life, because I'm not in the right frame of mind. But what I can say, hand on heart is that I would much rather have my little boy (someone I love unconditionally, in indescribable amounts) and a two true best friends (My mum and my H2B). I'm glad I'm not throwing up every morning because I've been out on the lash, I'm glad I'm studying for my degree properly, at home and really valuing the education that I'm receiving.

    My life went from child to adult in 0.5 seconds and I've dealt with it the best I can. I'm proud of what I've got, even if I'm not well enough to embrace and enjoy it all of the time.

    And on a lighter, bit of a piss take note -

    Jesus, carpenter. At age 30, Jesus finally stopped doing carpentry and started performing miracles.

    Who knows what you've got up your sleeves.

    Jesus Quote:

  3. Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    This really stuck a chord with me – I'm turning thirty next year and have had thoughts like this – I think it must be to do with feeling a bit like you're leaving the best of your youth behind. Though I look at my friends who are in their thirties and don't think it looks much different, it's hard not to feel like you're leaving something behind! I guess, for me it's not just turning thirty, it's also thinking about when we should have children (we're definitely not getting any younger!), and whether or not we can both achieve some of our hopes/dreams before that not too distant point!

    That said, my parents have been a great example of people who haven't let age get in their way – my mum took A'levels and did a degree about fifteen years ago, and has since also retrained as a teacher, while my dad had quite a career change over the last few years too. I guess it depends what you want to do though!

    There's always going to be "what ifs" though. I'm happy to be where I am in my career, but at the same time I remember the things I wanted to do when I was younger and feel a little sad and nostalgic for that younger Emma. But hey, thirty is still pretty young, and there's still a lot to be excited about and look forward to – and it's certainly not too old to be giving new things a shot.

  4. Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I'm also turning 30 soon, and I've suddenly started thinking quite a bit more about what if this, why did I do that etc etc!

    So thank you for the blog post, Emma's comments also strike a chord with me too.


  5. Posted August 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    One thing is for sure, I may not have made the most of my younger years career wise but I'm certainly giving everything I've got to have a beautiful wedding with the man I love and I never had preconceived ideas of how my wedding would be when I was a child. Probably because I was aged 6 when princess Diana got married and there was no way I could compete with her magnificent day but that all ended in divorce anyway. Maybe being the best, doing the best and having the best isn't what it's all cracked up to be.
    Being mediocre has it's good sides and it's quite nice to be average instead of the best, less pressure.

  6. Lucy
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Great post! I'm 38 soon and had imagined I would be happily married with kids by now, after backpacking around the world and selling paintings as a fine artist. I haven't done those things but HAVE done a million things I would never have imagined from falling head over heels in love in Argentina, being down coal mines whilst working in the film industry, living on a canal boat to becoming a photographer. There are times when I am sad. I long for a gorgeous man in my life and for a family of my own – it hasn't happened yet but I am completely open to whatever life throws my way.

    One of my mantras is 'live every day as though it's your last but as though you're going to live forever'. I read that when I was in 6xth form and have been trying to live it ever since.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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