I once knew somebody who was faced with a significant work decision. When I asked what he thought about the impact it would have on a loved one, he replied airily that he "was good at compartmentalizing," which I learned was code for "I'm going to do what I want, even if it negatively affects others."
I'm not good at all at compartmentalizing. I worry that my cats miss me when I'm gone. I overanalyze decisions. I get buyers remorse a lot. If someone seems mad, it bugs me for a long time. It would be easier to be able to put things in neat compartments and not worry about them, but I can't do it.
"Australia is interested in you," the work text said. I agonized. It was a month-long assignment. When the first two groups went there, it would have worked. Friends and cat sitters were available; it was the holidays. One of my cats seemed to be doing well after her last dental surgery. People were around and could have spent some time taking care of the cats and my house. Nothing was going on at work.
But now, a month later, those friends weren't as available. They had to work; some had work travel; a month commitment was too long for them, even with pay. They had their own pets to care for. The princess cat had to return to the vet, her issue not yet fixed. Hiring was set to begin in a couple weeks. Leaving for 30 days didn't seem as easy anymore.
I could have gone. Most people probably would have. It was an incredible opportunity and Australia could use the help. I could have patched together a group of people who would come in to check the cats for a few minutes a day, hoped the kitty's medical problem didn't get worse, and tried not to care who got hired. But in the end, I didn't go. Someone else did.
Was this the right choice? Not financially, and not in the adventure sense. Maybe it was a mistake, or maybe down the road in the next few weeks I'll be glad I didn't go. I wonder what it would be like to be a person who just charged ahead, not caring about consequences. Maybe they just pretend not to care.
Because I can't compartmentalize, this line of thinking leads me to ponder other choices in life. Many were wrong. Some, while wrong at the time, led to better situations in the future. So I guess you never can tell. You just make the choice with the best information you have at the time, and take one of the forks in the road you are facing. You just hope it will take you somewhere interesting.