Fandango’s Provocative Question (2 September 2020)

Wednesday. Fandango’s Provocative Question once again. A long one this week, but ultimately rewarding. Fandango asks:

Have you ever had to make what turned out to be a life changing decision? If so, do you ever wish that you could go back in time and make a different decision? What decision was that and how do you think your life would have changed if you’d made a different one?

With hindsight, there were a few life-changing decisions. I guess we all have them. I’ll pick out a couple:

I remember the time I spent working in the USA. I was sitting on a job offer, with a visa in my hand, and ultimately decided to return to the UK. That was certainly a life-changing decision. With hindsight, I think the company thought “this guy will do anything to work in the US” (and some other employees certainly thought that), so they made what was a pretty crappy offer. I always had my eye on the level of employment I would go for in the UK (which I went on to achieve), so I thought of this crappy offer as, well, a crappy offer.

Within that time in the US, there would have been other life-changing decisions.

When I first went over, I was based in some offices in the ‘burbs, outside Washington, DC. Frankly, the experience left me with no desire ever to go back. I think it was the ‘burbs rather than DC. I hated having to get into a car just to go out anywhere. Even the roadways didn’t have any sidewalk.

But go back I did, to Tampa, Fl. We were deep in talks with Chase Manhattan, who had a big campus there. I went over for a few weeks of workshops, decided I liked the place, so we set the wheels in motion.

Last of all, Chase changed the goalposts and said they wanted us in Manhattan. As it happened, I loved NYC. I would have been more than happy to work there instead of Fl, but NYC was mega-expensive. The offer which was acceptable in Fl was a pittance in NYC.

The point is, three totally different places, any of which I might have ended up if I had gone over. Any of which might be considered “life changing”, compared to any other.

So, one decision I got right.

Then there was meeting my wife. If anything, I remember that largely because the big decisions like marriage and children were so easy. Remember, I wouldn’t have met her at all if I’d stayed in the USA. But I did have a wobble right at the very start, when we first met. Did I want to commit to this fish, or did I want to go looking for all the others in the sea? (I’m sure I’ll be in trouble for comparing her to a fish!) But seriously, whenever I met a girlfriend, there were always other people – do I want to be with her or should I keep looking just in case something happens?

I reckon I got that one right.

I suppose I could look at my job, too. Although technically I worked for myself, I had clients. I was my own boss, but not really my own boss. One client, I knew for 10 years. When you imagine, you normally have a client for 3 or 6 months, 10 years is a long time. During that time, they asked me three times if I would join their team permanently. The last time, they made it known… by the way, we’re also planning on getting rid of all contractors. I figured I could find other clients, which was indeed the case, when it happened.

But after that, I wasn’t aware that there would have been this blip with my health. I never knew I’d have a stroke. I might be earning a decent salary still, or maybe living on their pension, rather than trying to eke out a living on my own.

Was that the right call? Well, sure, if we’re talking about keeping my sanity. One thing with this client was that they were so disorganised, it would have driven me crazy. But maybe financially, they would have been the right call?

I don’t know. I don’t really think we can go through life with regrets, but maybe just a few teeny ones?

Morning Ritual

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) of 2 September, 2020, drain.

I woke up this morning to a chill in the air,
I found my gown, so had something to wear,
The sun was shining, just as before,
But my toes felt the cold as they touched the floor.

The days I noticed are shorter, too
Still dark as I get up and make my first brew
Of course, I am faced with a hungry cat,
impatiently waiting for me on the mat.

“You must wait your turn”, I say to her
As I go to the toilet, her wrath I incur,
Then I’m into the kitchen, opening sachet,
The cat food starts tumbling out of the packet.

My next major task is to switch on my brain,
Throw yesterday’s remnants of tea down the drain,
The kettle is humming, the water is heating,
The cat by now is hungrily eating.

Ten minutes later, her breakfast is finished,
Her appetite sated, her hunger diminished,
She joins me expectantly on the settee,
Demanding a fuss as I’m supping my tea.