I imagine my life is full of missed opportunities, but as someone with chronic illness and chronic pain it does not do well to linger on them or the past. We often have a problem thinking a little too much about times when we were ‘better’ and what we ‘could have accomplished’. The road of ‘ifs’ is not a good road to travel.
I missed an opportunity to go for my Phd for example. At the time I had untreated fibromyalgia and was just beginning to get treatment, unsuccessful, for chronic migraines. I attained my Masters but my GPA has dropped slightly because all that pain and brainfog made it quite difficult to cope and to work and study. I made it, which I am damn proud of, but felt it was a good idea to take a year off to get treatment. Felt if I could lower my pain a bit and then go I would succeed to more my standards to the point of being able to not only do my studies to my satisfaction but also do other things expected of academics at that level. Unfortunately, not going to school means working, working actually meant the migraines got worse. And a fact I did not know at the time was that treatment is a great deal more complicated than neurologists make it sound. I believe neurologists when they said they could get my migraine intensity and frequency down. What they actually meant was the best medication with the best result had a fifty percent reduction… most medications were not graded the best and most responses were not the best case scenario. Also you must run through many to even find one you respond to. To even get a slight reduction. So it is in fact a very long complicated migraine story.
Had I known this I would have gone for my Phd. I would preferred to have been working I job I was passionate about and struggling with migraines. Than a job I settled for to pay off the student loans and barely able to survive the pain.
Yet pain has a way of making you make a lot of hard choices like that. Compromises that suck at the time but had to be made. I have made more than a few of them in my days. None of them were easy and some of them led to improving my quality of life, which is obviously an important factor. We don’t always get what we want. Sometimes we get what we need. Sometimes we also have a crapload of pain either way. I can’t forget this particular compromise because the pain got worse as a consequence, but it likely would have anyway. Once I was working, in any field, it would have haunted me in the same way.
There are plenty of opportunities in life that are am very thankful for. Going to university in the first place is one of them. I would say the happiest time in my life was that time period. And you simply cannot underestimate the learning and life experiences gained. Or the debt of course.
Every choice we make in life, cuts of another. We are indecisive a times because we know this fact. If I do this, I cannot do this. If I choose this, then this choice so gone. What if I choose wrong? Yet in fact, every experience we have in life is valuable. Every choice leads us down new paths and new roads. Can we ever really regret the end? The story we have created here? I don’t think so really. Who would I be now if not for what I have experienced.