Yesterday morning, at the prompting of something within me that I am not quite certain of, I began to construct a list of my greatest mistakes.
To qualify as a mistake, it had to be something that I myself chose to do instead of a circumstance created beyond my control. It also had to have ended up having a detrimental impact on m life in some form or fashion - sometimes something that has taken years to evidence itself.
The results were, sadly, rather depressing.
I came up with six major errors (no, I will not be listing them here. You have your errors. I have mine). But what did come up as a consistent theme throughout each of them was that they were primarily all based in a lack of self control and secondarily based on an inability to plan for the future. In layman's terms, I want what I want now and do not really care what impact it has on my life.
I am fortunate - more likely blessed - that none of the impact of these items are the sorts of things that permanently resulted in harm to myself or others (there are those decisions as well). But they have done harm none the less, to myself and others - bad memories at best, true hardship (mostly financial in my case) at worst.
There is obviously a reason this is coming up now, and obviously something that needs to be learned from all of this.
I am a man of impulsiveness too often, given to wild flights of fancy about the grass which is (undoubtedly) greener on the other side of the fence - or to compensate for the dry grass on my side, I look for ways to make it more endurable. Neither of these are the correct solution. Instead, I need to decide how I want my lawn to be and then so manage my life within my own fences that it becomes that.
The resolution is, of course, rather simple: make no decision based on a lack of self control (or alternatively, only make controlled decisions) and make every decision with an eye towards what it will look like in ten to twenty years (I think realistically, we can say that any consideration to a decision fifty years out is pretty wishful thinking at this point, except for those things that will impact eternity).
Which strikes me as both interesting and odd - for the first time in perhaps 50 years, I have a rubric for making decisions. I wish I had come up with this years ago.