Monday, June 13, 2011

the biggest mistake of my life

Today, I had an another episode of "You're making the biggest mistake of your life!"

This occurs when someone who barely knows me looks at my choices and, instead of respecting them, throws themselves into my life, assumes my circumstances, and tells me I am making the wrong choice.

I don't know why this happens to me so often. I think people see potential in me and by their standards I am wasting it. I am a pretty approachable soul, so they seem to think it is their duty to take pity on me and correct my decisions.

While I am offended I thought I would reflect on some of the "Biggest mistakes of my life!"

First - the tattoos, every single dot of ink is part of me, I can't think of how they are mistakes. I do admit when I make mistakes, those aren't them.

Although there was a language barrier the sweet old Greek woman in Santorini made it clear that I should never have cut my hair so short. I wanted her to shave it, she refused. I loved that haircut, definitely not the biggest mistake of my life.

Dr. Margot Ip tried to convince me for over an hour that leaving her lab at Roswell Cancer Park was the biggest mistake of my life. I have never hated a job more than I hated that one, and I have had some ridiculous jobs. As amazing as cancer research is, leaving that behind me was not the biggest mistake of my life.

When my divorce attorney tried to tell me that not taking the man I loved to court over money was the biggest mistake of my life, I wanted to slap him in the face. I have a friend not an ex-husband. We grew up together, we did the best we could. Ignoring that attorney was not the biggest mistake of my life, hiring him might have been.

When I was a teenager I was in love with a boy and my family thought we were too serious. While they often just let me be happy others told me I was making a mistake. I cannot imagine a kinder soul to have been my first love, he was not the biggest mistake of my life.

Today, an attorney overheard that I want to spend my career in patent prosecution. With incredible passion they tried to "talk sense" into me about how I am wasting talent and "making the biggest mistake of my life."

I understand where they are coming from. Often I want to grab my niece or nephew and try to prevent them from making, what I think, are mistakes. But I am not them. I love them, unconditionally, but I am not them. I have my hands full living my life, I can't live theirs too.

While I make epic mistakes, I regret to inform that I have yet to make the biggest mistake of my life. I may not have the neatest, most orderly, existence - but its a beautiful mess.

To date, the mistake that ranks highest on the list of errors is the time I have lost. The time I have spent being sad, worrying, unappreciated, not myself, isolated, cold, hurt, or mean. I am not perfect, I have those times. If I could take all of that stress and unessesary self-inflicted pain and erase it, I would. I reconcile all of that into the thought that all of these "mistakes" and all of the time "lost" was the purchase price of who I am.

The only debts I have left to pay, are for a priceless education.

Worth every tear.


  1. I don't make mistakes I just have learning experiences! Some lessons get retaught from time to time but it is all good. Love ya Mary and I would not change anything about you!

  2. Mary, oh my sweet are one of God's greatest gifts to this world. I am one of the luckiest women in the world to have known you then and watch you now. You are wise beyond your years and the above essay just confirms that! You are one of my heros because you are so YOU and no one else! Keep on keepin on just the way you are!!! And please keep writing! Love ya!!! Momma C.