Some folks insist that if they could live their life over again they wouldn’t change a thing. That’s a sweet sentiment, but I don't feel that way. Although I spend almost no time regretting my poor decisions, if I had it to do over again, you bet I would make some changes.
She wasn’t from the popular crowd. She didn’t have the hourglass figure or poofy hair (fashionable in the 1970s). She wore little makeup, and she dressed like a boy. But she was real. She was fun, determined (especially on the track and in the classroom), flirtatious (at least with me), and had natural good looks.
What I didn’t know in high school is that she would grow into an amazing woman, mother, wife, and now caregiver. What I also didn’t know in high school is that I couldn’t have chosen a more compatible, loving, dedicated, and (again) fun individual.
I got that one right, and I’m glad she felt the same way toward me.
Observation: in the photo above she does have poofy hair, and she's definitely not dressed like a boy. But she looks so damn cute in this picture that I couldn't resist.
What I Got Wrong – Choosing to Be a Chemical Engineer
This is a tough one for me to admit because I spent so much of my life doing this work, and I was pretty good at it, and I was well compensated for it. But if I’m to be honest with myself, there were so many other directions I could have gone.
What should I have done instead? I’m not sure. The life of a college professor may have worked – being both an intellectual and a coach for young people. I also think I would have been happier in the business/finance world. I like big picture issues – not so much how do I make this widget better, but how do I make this company better. I thoroughly enjoyed getting my MBA, but I was so far along in my engineering career that I never made the leap to the business side. I only used the MBA as resume material.
During high school, I didn’t consider myself a people person. I was horribly shy. I was much better at numbers and formulas and equations. It has only been in the last few years that I’ve tapped into my creative side and appreciated how rewarding it is to improve the lives of people. Perhaps I would have enjoyed helping others in the medical or legal areas. I don’t know.
I just know that I got it wrong when I chose to be a chemical engineer.
What Did You Get Right and Wrong?
This is a new series of blog posts, where I’ll write about one thing I got right in my life and one thing I got wrong. I would like to know your personal Right and Wrong stories. Please forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once I get enough of them, I’ll publish them in a blog post.