As much as I labor over the big decisions in my life—listing out pros and cons, weighting each option, forecasting probable outcomes—I’ve made a few bad choices. Life can exceed or foil expectation.
Of course, I don’t recognize that I’ve made the wrong decision in media res—otherwise, I’d correct course. It’s only after I’ve turned the key, revved the engine, and sped away that I realize I’m wheeling down a one-way street toward a four-foot thick cement wall.
Maybe now that I’ve cleared my twenties, I can look back at that decade of my life with greater objectivity. Maybe this stagnant economy forces greater introspection. Whatever the case, missteps litter my path to the present. The biggest one: nursing school. Almost five years later, I have nothing to show for it but heaps of student debt (matched in equal parts by regret), and reoccurring nightmares of pagers beeping, monitors alarming, and babies coding.
Thankfully, though my dreams may be unique, my situation is not. Everyone makes mistakes, commits errors of judgment, and falls victim to the occasional bad luck. What then?
After a few days of moping and a stiff drink (actually, in my case, a French Silk Pie Blizzard from Dairy Queen), I scavenge the wreckage for usable parts. Even if nothing salvageable, at least I’ve moved off the couch and away from the refrigerator.
If I don’t get up, I’ll never move on. And I do believe in silver linings, even if it takes time and just the right angle of sunlight to see them. It took a job I hated to push me toward this crazy, wonderful dream of becoming a writer.
Sometimes mistakes are really opportunities in disguise.