It would seem that I've f'd up, big time. Now what? How do you move forward when you're fairly sure you've made a bad decision and can't turn back. (details inside)
posted by farce majeure to grab bag (31 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I'll start with the question and you can read the details beneath if so inclined.
I took a big gamble, and all signs are pointing to it being a losing one, and I'm having a very hard time avoiding the feeling that, this decision and it's aftermath will come to define the rest of my life.
My question is, are there any other mefites out there who've made a decision with far ranging consequences that ended up being a mistake, and if so, how did you move forward after that? I am more or less over beating myself up for making this decision, but it's put me on a path I didn't expect and don't want to be on, and I don't know how to move forward in a positive way.
About 8 months ago, I decided to leave a decent job in Tokyo, where I was living with my girlfriend, to go back to graduate school in the states. The specifics aren't really important for this question, but briefly, I loved living in Tokyo, wanted to marry my girlfriend eventually, and really didn't want to leave, but was worried about future career prospects (and also a bit insecure about not having made much of myself, whatever that means) and thought that, by getting my degree, I'd be able to come back to Japan, marry my girlfriend and get a better job that would allow me to live a comfortable life and eventually start a family (i just turned 30 btw, so these things are starting to press on my mind more than they used to)
Well, it was a terrible idea. My girlfriend left me after several months of trying to make the ldr thing work. I study international relations, focusing on east asia and trade in the region, and study japanese every day. I thought that I'd be able to get a better job in Japan after finishing my degree, but I've realized that this degree isn't setting me up for a better job in Japan, a place I still would very much like to return to. Moreover, I've taken on a large amount of debt to come to school, so I wouldn't even be able to return to my old job in Tokyo because the salary wouldn't cover my new student loan payments, and those payments are also going to make it very hard for me to have enough money to raise a family any time in the near future.
Where I thought I was going to end up, ie: married, in Tokyo, with a good job, ready to start a family, and where I am going to end up, ie: single, probably not in Tokyo, working a job that I'm most likely not interested in but that I have to take in order to pay my student loans, and unable to support a family for years to come, are essentially diametrically opposed to each other.
So when you feel as though you've put yourself on the wrong path, and that there's no going back to the path you wanted to be on, how do move forward positively without feeling like your life is defined by a bad decision you wish you hadn't made?
I keep trying to find a positive in this, but I'm having a hard time. Any suggestions on how to reframe this so I don't end up a bitter old man who ends up mumbling to himself over his drink at the bar about "If only hadn't left Tokyo and gone to grad school..."
Wrapped up in all of this is probably still some anxiety about getting older. I feel like these kind of mistakes are easier to write off in your early to mid 20s, but after 30, I feel like there's a lot less wiggle room to get things right, and mistakes start to really have teeth.
Oh, and yes, I'm seeing a therapist every couple of weeks. He's helped me to stop beating myself up for making this choice, but hasn't really helped me figure out how to move forward yet, so I'm appealing to the hive mind. As always, your advice and recommendations are much appreciated.