Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact seemingly minor decisions can have on our life. In the last year, I’ve recently realised, I’ve inadvertantly made quite a few of these decisions.
Last December when we found out my dad had the opportunity to get his new job, the first thing my parents asked was if I wanted to move, because if I didn’t, he wouldn’t take it. I don’t know what it was about that moment; maybe I’d had a bad day, maybe I just knew it was the right thing to do, maybe I was slightly drugged up on pain meds (this was a few weeks after my operation) and not thinking straight… Whatever the reason, I distinctly remember blurting ‘yes, I want to move.’ The realisation that this meant leaving my friends and my comfortable life behind would come later, but at that moment, I knew I had to say yes. If I had said no, what would my life be like now? I’d still be in France, obvs, but I wouldn’t know any of the amazing people I’ve met at my new school, I wouldn’t be doing most of the subjects I am now doing for my HSC, I wouldn’t have experienced employment at a fast food restaurant… this year would have just been another boring one, instead of one of the most hectic ones of my life.
On one of our last days at camp (golly gosh, was that really five weeks ago?!) another exchange company arrived to begin theirs. We’d been there for almost two weeks, had made lots of friends and were well into the routine of Language Camp Life. We watched them unload with a mild curioisty. And then I saw their shirts. The company they were with was the company I was thisclose to going with. If I hadn’t decided I wanted a two week camp instead of the one week camp they offered, I suddenly realised I would be on the other side of camp. That instead of watching them get settled, I’d be the one getting settled while watching those already settled in with a curious eye. Instead of being super tight with some of my new friends, they’d be random strangers I would never speak to. It’s funny how the split second decision to choose one company over another can alter your life so drastically.
One of my American friends and I were talking the other day at school about what our lives would be like now if we’d gone to another destination. She’s a fluent Spanish speaker and was given a last minute opportunity to go to Argentina. She declined, despite not speaking French, and now wonders if that was a completely idiotic decision. As for me, I had my heart set on going to the USA. Always had, and likely will still harbour a desire to live there and end up going on University exchange in years to come. My parents said a big fat no to paying all that money for me to go to an English speaking coutnry, and decided France would be beneficial. What if I had said no, that I didn’t want to go to a non-English speaking country? I’d likely be at home right now, stressing over the school certificate, getting excited to watch the Grand Final tomorrow with my dad and brother, and hanging out with the friends I so desperately miss.
It sounds like a pretty good deal, but then I remember had I originally said no, or pulled out at one of the many pre-departure freak outs I had (my mum would always say “you know honey, we’re not making you go. Just say the word and you can stay home”, and through my tears I’d reply “I think I want to go. Don’t cancel, it’s just haaaaaard.”), I would not have met any of the amazing people I now have. I wouldn’t have experienced French life, or French culture. Sure, I’d be sitting at home, doing the things I like, the things I’m comfortable with, but would I forever live to regret the decision to stay home? I’ll be the first to admit life isn’t exactly a barrel of laughs over here. Of course, there are fun times filled with crêpe and waffle eating, and discovering cultural differences and revelling in the novelty of having an actual tray lunch from an actual cafeteria, but it’s Hard Work. That said, I only have to last four more months. Four Freaking Months. And it’s over. Life goes back to how it was (well, with a bit more stress due to it being ‘THE HSC’ and all that ‘your future is looming’ crap). I can survive four months, and come out of it saying ‘oh yeah, I totally lasted six months alone in France!’
I’ll be proud of myself. If I had made the decision not to come, or caved to the niggling want to end the program early, I think more than anything I’d be regretful and disappointed in myself. There’d be a whole section of me filled with questions. What if I had gone? What if I had stayed the length of the program? What would I be doing now? Who would I have met? What could I be experiencing?
I guess it’s like that saying, They Never Said It Was Going To Be Easy, Just That It Was Going To Be Worth It. I made the decision to come, and to stay. I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason. All part of God’s plan for us etc. etc. I just know I’m going to be able to take so many life lessons away from this experience that will help benefit me in the future and that I will come to cherish. And just like instinctively blurting ‘Yes!’ when asked if I wanted to move, I know that the decision will only lead to good things. Because everything is always ok in the end (also, I’ve only been at school here a month. My mum so helpfully reminded me the other day that after a month at my new school in Australia I was still crying an awful lot, so it’s only to be expected for it to be worse here).
Oh, I just remembered a slightly less intense decision that has lead to big things for me this year! At the very start of the year (or was it the end of last? Who knows.) I made the slightly stalkerish decision to email Gemma Crisp for an interview. She was ever so lovely, and obliged, and then a few months later it caught the eye of Erica who wrote about it in one of her weekly media musings. I made the decision to email her a thankyou, and in her reply came the offer to be her teen reviewer, which has then lead to many other glossy opportunities and readers for me.
It’s kinda crazy how one split second decision can change our life, isn’t it?
frangipani princess xoxo