Coll Writes

You know how I do.

642 Things to Write About Challenge: Week 30

Written By: Colleen - Jul• 27•13

This one is in honor of the six year anniversary of when Jay and I started dating, which is on Monday, July 29.  I’m really looking forward to hearing everyone else’s answers.  Leave ’em in the comments.

Pick one decision you’ve made in your life – a move, job, or relationship.  How would your life be different now if you’d made a different choice? 

As much as I would like to believe that “true love conquers all,” I don’t know if Jay and I would have made it if one of us didn’t move to be in the same location as the other one.  Long distance relationships are really difficult.  I don’t think you can successfully have one unless there is an end in sight.  Moving to Raleigh, North Carolina is the one decision I have made in my life that changed the entire course of it.  If I hadn’t moved down here in February 2009, I don’t know if Jay and I would still be together, let alone happily married with a kitty.

I could go further decisions back and say going to Marist College or visiting Raleigh in April 2007, but I don’t think those are sustainable answers.  Yes, going to Marist led me to meet John, which led us to starting MetroBuzz, but we didn’t really become good friends until after college was over.  And that stemmed from both of us connecting over listening to The Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack.  We could’ve come into contact over the LP message boards or in some other way and decided to do MetroBuzz.  I truly believe that.  As for choosing to visit Chapel Hill in April 2007 – well, Jay and I were both going to San Diego Comic-Con that July.  We would have met there and our relationship could’ve just been delayed 3 months.  If you’re meant to meet and be together, the universe is going to bring you together.

The main hurdle was staying together and I could be wrong, that was primarily overcome by me moving here.  Jay was still in school full time until May 2010, so he wasn’t going to be able to go anywhere.  Our first year together was great, but our second year was more stressful and 99% of the petty arguments we had were distance related.  That’s why our very first answer whenever someone asks, “How do you make a long distance relationship work?” is always “Have an end game.”

How would my life be different now if I hadn’t made the choice to move?  I would probably still be living in New York and working there.  I doubt I’d be married to anyone else.  I don’t think I’d be as involved in the “community” as I am now, so I wouldn’t have some of the great friendships I’ve formed over the years either.

I think I made the right decision.

But anyway, I am WAAAAAY more interested in hearing how everyone else has to say for this topic.  What is the one decision you’ve made and how would your life be different if you had made a different decision?

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381 Comments

  1. Desiree' Bingham says:

    I think that there are too many decisions that impacted my life. I also think that a lot of small decisions added up together to get me here. I can’t really think of any one that stands out. But wow, you just reminded me of how long I have been listening to you and Jay. It doesn’t seem that long!

    • Colleen Glatfelter says:

      Yeah, how crazy is it that it’s been that long?! But at the same time, I feel like it’s pretty much been a lifetime that I’ve known all you guys. I definitely agree with a lot of smaller decisions adding up together.

  2. Pat Sponaugle says:

    At first I saw your topic, and I thought to myself “Patrick (I’m very formal when addressing myself third-personally), can you do this? It’s not like you’re Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors, and both futures can be revealed at a nexus point simultaneously.”

    It’s kind of hard for me to really imagine what the alternative of a decision could be. Once I make a decision, I usually don’t have buyer’s remorse and think about what might have happened had I done this, or not done that.

    But I do think it’s possible to look back and know what specifically wouldn’t have happened had I done something differently.

    I am married to a wonderful woman, and we have an awesome daughter. Since this is the Internet, I’ll skip specifics, but we’ve been married over a decade, exactly three years longer than we have been parents; we adopted our daughter on our 3rd anniversary. It just worked out that way.

    Obviously, in going through an adoption process, there’s a ton of decisions that have to be made. Do you adopt internationally or try for a domestic adoption? (We decided international.) What country to go with? (We chose China.) What kind of child? (gender, age, etc.)

    So, I could just ease out and say we could have done any other course of action and not ended up with our wonderful and amazing daughter. But I’ll go back further.

    Before we adopted, I already mentioned that my wife and I got married. She’s a Marylander pretty much. She was born out of state, but moved here to Maryland (near D.C.) pretty early on. She went to college here. Settled down here.

    I moved to Maryland for my job out of college. I ended up making friends with people who happened to be friends of my not-yet-wife. She was married when I moved here, and I had met her and her husband at social gatherings.

    After some time of slackly being a slacker and not dating (some of us are just really ill-equipped to date) I asked out a girl (who did not become my wife, different girl), she accepted, we dated. Dated for a few years, and it really wasn’t going anywhere. I think we both wanted to break up, but since we all shared the same circle of friends, we were kind of hoping that the other one would make the move and be the bad guy. Eventually we both realized that it wasn’t going to work out no matter what, and that all of our friends were kind of wanting us to break up and not be awkward.

    Since it was a bad experience, and my ex and I were going to be appearing at the same social circles afterwards, I kind of didn’t want to date until some time had passed.

    During this time, my future-wife Lisa (I don’t know why I wasn’t mentioned her by name before, sorry) was not having a good marriage. As I alluded to before, she met a guy in college, they got married, it worked for awhile, but then it stopped working.

    I think everyone was surprised when they separated and got divorced.

    Around this time, a mutual friend of ours had a bad situation where his roommate had been stealing from him (it was quite a shocking thing.) Several of us wanted to attend the sentencing to support our friend, and I had offered rides to the courthouse, And as it turned out, I just had Lisa as a passenger.

    We got breakfast before the trial, and we just kind of hit it off. After some months (I kind of didn’t want to move in fast on someone recently divorced) I asked her out again and eventually we got married. And eventually we became parents.

    So, to arrange this marriage, there were decisions that affected it even happening. It was more or less a decision of mine to not be an active dater early on (it was actually the universe mocking me by making me terrified of women and otherwise just dumb), so I kind of killed time, and then killed time trying to make things work or suffer through with my girlfriend during that dating time. And then I decided to eschew dating afterwards.

    So that kind of freed me up at the right time to ask out Lisa.

    So that could qualify as decisions that affected my future.

    But I’ll go back even further.

    As I mentioned, I’m from Virginia, Lisa is from Maryland. I graduated from Virginia Tech with a Computer Scientist degree (in 1986). I got a job with the Department of Defense because you youngsters might not remember all this, but Ronald Reagan was very keen on building up the Defense Industry. So I was offered a job, moved on up, and than began my mode of being slack socially and not dating.

    But that almost didn’t happen. Because I was a crappy student. And Tech was pretty hard nosed on weeding out less than excellent students from their Computer Science curriculum.

    My first few years at Tech were really bad. It was really my fault, since I was just not good at studying. I’d like to say that I partied too much, but I don’t even have that as an excuse. I just was easily distracted or whatever. Wouldn’t put in the effort.

    So, halfway through college, with pretty good grades in everything *but* my actual major, I was thinking about switching majors to something else. Like Business, or Psychology, or something else. I really have no idea what I was thinking about switching to, because at the time I think I had no idea either.

    I talked to my Dad about this, and he’d always been a pretty solid “let the boy make his own decision” kind of guy. He’d give good advice, but not tell me what to do, and not drop the hammer. Or at least I hadn’t been so rebellious or stupid as to need the hammer dropped.

    But this time, he was pretty close to dropping the hammer. He pretty much called me out on the carpet for not really applying myself in my major. I thought about that. I really didn’t like my experience at Virginia Tech’s CS department. And I think if I had dug my heels in, or at least worked up a good case for an alternative field of study, I might have made that work.

    But instead, I didn’t press it. And resigned myself to my computer science major studies. But as if I’d been given the answer key or something, everything became much much easier. My last years in college were pretty good. My grades improved, I seemed to have a clue. Things worked out.

    But, when it was time to get a job, I did have a couple years of crappy grades on the transcript. But the DoD was hiring baby. And they had jobs in Maryland. And I was happy to get an offer.

    SOOOOooooo, sorry for the long story… but had I not stuck with my field of study, I wouldn’t have benefited from whatever the hell happened to get me past the weeding-blade in the CS department, and I doubt I would have gotten a job in Maryland, and I doubt I would have met my wife or been available to marry her. And we would not have decided to adopt a beautiful girl from China.

    And our lives, in my resolute opinion, would have been the sadder for all that. Because our daughter is so great.

    Hope this is what you were looking for.

    Best regards,

    Pat from Maryland

    • Colleen Glatfelter says:

      Hi Pat,

      Thanks for sharing. Isn’t it crazy how many little things add up to where we are now? I really liked reading your tale. Thanks!

      • Pat Sponaugle says:

        Thanks for reading it! I’m sorry it was so long, but I liked telling it.

        Thank you for advertising the writing challenges, they are always interesting.

  3. Melissa McGuire says:

    This was hard, but I will choose one.

    As I finished my undergrad degree, I decided that I would either switch from Physics to Engineering in Graduate school or stay and continuing with Physics. I applied to both programs and was accepted to each, with teaching assistantships to help pay for living expenses. Engineering meant changing schools and moving to an entirely new city. Physics meant staying put in the school I was already at. Engineering meant starting something scary and new. Physics meant taking the known safe road. I chose to go to graduate School in Engineering. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be working with the group I do now, at the place I do now, and I wouldn’t have met my husband.

    Although I like to think that if it was meant to be (and I think it was), we’d have met anyway.

    I am happy for Jay and you (and us in the Lost podcast community) that you made the choice you did.

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