I've been thinking a lot about regrets in the last few days, and kind of taking stock of where I am in life, what I have accomplished to this point, and whether I have any regrets about the road I have taken to get here.
I've come to the conclusion that I don't really have any regrets, which kind of fascinates me. I mean, there were certainly different paths I could have taken along the way. But that would mean that I would not be who I am today - and I would not be where I am today, doing what I do.
This was prompted by a gathering last Friday of new faculty members at our university. We met with the new (interim) provost, an introspective engineer, of all things. And he mentioned that every year, after the spring semester raced to a close, he would spend some time reflecting on whether he had enjoyed the last year, including his research, his teaching, his interactions with colleagues, and his interactions with students. He said that if the university was going to put him under the microscope every year for his annual review, then he thought he owed it to himself to do the same kind of examination from his perspective.
I don't do this often, but I have re-evaluated my spot in life over time. Last year, I did it a LOT when I was interviewing for jobs. Now that we are relatively settled, it's less of a 'thing', but it's something that I still do periodically. I find it helpful to have trusted colleagues that I can talk to about these things, too - if I find that there is kind of a sore spot at work (for example, right now I have a colleague who is driving me absolutely bonkers...), then I can examine with my colleagues whether it is me - and my response to the person - or whether they are also being driven bonkers by the same person. It's a nice check on me - I find that I can be kind of mean sometimes - and it's a good way for me to make sure that I, myself, am not going off the deep end. And I trust these colleagues to tell me if I am doing so.
But back to regrets - and reflection - on my personal life. I did think back to our journey with infertility over the last few weeks, again. Would I have done anything differently? I don't think I would have. I had two consults with health care providers (my women's health NP and a different midwife) before we even tried conceiving. They both pronounced me in good health, and told me to have at it. Of course, there were obviously problems, but I don't believe that they could have detected those problems if they had even looked. It's not like the RE's were able to pinpoint a cause for my infertility - or a successful way to treat it.
Would I have waited as long to try for children? Again, no. And that is not because I didn't want kids earlier - it's because of where we were in our lives. I had prioritized graduate school. That got me where I am today - with the job I have today, which I do love (as much as I sometimes complain about it). Before I met my husband, I was at peace with the idea of being single for the majority of my life. Meeting my husband was an unexpected - and joyful - surprise. So - regrets about how old I was when we got married? About waiting a year and a half to try for children? No, definitely not.
I haven't examined *everything* in my life, obviously. But I do think that I am where I am today - and I am *who* I am today - because of everything that has come before. I'm not religious - I don't think there is a plan - but I do think that in the choose your own adventure that is life, I've done pretty darn well so far. And I anticipate that that will continue.