Opinion

By Jane Lucas

Ever look back on your life and think, if you could turn back time you would change something? You aren’t alone in this thought. So many of us can, at times, feel guilty about making mistakes or decisions that end up changing the course of our lives. It happens! But it isn’t something to regret; rather, learn to embrace the good and the not-so-good, accepting rather than judging who you are or where you’ve been. 

Of course, it may have changed your life in such a way that it short-circuited what you initially wanted, or maybe your life hasn’t turned out the way you had hoped it would. We all have been given a certain deck of cards that is life, and sometimes, whether we like them or not, the hand we are dealt is what we have to deal with. 

No matter where you are in life, it is good every now and then to look back and see where the lessons are. Sometimes, it may not feel like you can take anything away from the situation, especially if it is causing you hurt and pain. But there are always things we can learn, and in many cases, we can move forward knowing that we have more knowledge and experience now to guide us better in the future.

With that in mind, here are some of the life-changing circumstances that can really change who we are.    

A working environment and career choices

It’s sometimes hard to believe that our career choices can have such a huge impact on our future, and in many, often unexpected ways. First up there is our health. Performing a particular task, or working within a specific environment, can mean that you are now prone to future health risks. This might include hearing loss if the workplace or work environment can cause harm to your internal eardrum. It might be that your work causes you great stress, or because of the type of work you do, such as being at the computer all day, you worry about achy wrists, headaches, or eyestrain. Not to mention that your job has an impact on your future finances, in terms of how much you can save as well as having enough going into a pension or retirement for the future.

There is no denying that your choice of work and work environment can impact your life in many ways. But often the biggest impact can be on your mental health. Your work can cause stress, anxiety, and depression, with sideline symptoms including lack of sleep, loss of appetite, anger, and frustration. While at the time it can feel like there is no way out, when looking back try to identify from your experience what is a good working environment, and what is not, and take that knowledge with you into next time. 

Past habits and mistakes

Have you ever been in a position where things have gotten a little out of hand? Many of us might be able to identify with forming habits for things that we know aren’t the best for us. For example, a drug addiction. It might be you find yourself in a situation where your workplace has undertaken reasonable suspicion training in drug testing, which might have caused problems for you in the past. Maybe it isn’t drugs, but more alcohol dependency, smoking, or other vices that we can all be tempted by. The decisions we have made in the past to let those things dominate our lives might be able to help you make better choices in the future. At the time, it doesn’t feel like there is a way out, or there is a life without it. But taking those first positive steps toward gaining back control can make the biggest difference in your life. 

Financial issues

Struggling with your finances can really hinder your chances of a prosperous future if you don’t tackle the issue head-on. Your finances might be a lot to handle at first. After all, few of us are given life lessons on the ins and outs of wisely using a credit card, how credit can affect your life, and budget management. Yet, as adults we are expected to understand the financial world and thrive instead of sink. Things can be manageable with credit, mortgages, and debt, though. And yes, in some cases it can get out of control if you don’t right the sinking ship. Certainly, heading down a road of bankruptcy can do damage to a strong financial future, making it a much longer road than necessary to get there.

We are all human though, and it is understandable if you feel like you have no choice. This is why having experienced law firms on your side can help guide you through the process. Just know that, if you go the route of bankruptcy, things like credit and mortgages will be harder to obtain, and you will find that you will often be asked to declare it, even when you are through it and on the other side; financial applications and even work interviews may ask about this, and it could affect your career. Learn from this experience and let it encourage you to think carefully before taking drastic action and try to budget wisely,  knowing that you can handle things moving forward. 

A marriage breakdown

Let’s be honest, nobody enters into a marriage considering that it will break down at some point, but relationships can run their course. Sometimes it can seem impossible to predict what will work and what won’t these days. However, the breakdown of a marriage can really affect your life moving forward. You can struggle to live independently; you may have court custody hearings to attend; and life as a single parent may feel overwhelming. This is why it is important to ensure that you try and work things out. Marriage counseling can often help, alongside separation trials, or even just giving each other some space while you figure out, with objective support, the next best step.

The reality is, while it may feel like the end of the world, in some cases people are happier apart than together. Which is far more important. It is essential to understand that not all marriages are destined to work; however, some people can feel divorce is the easy route out. Looking back you may wish you had tried harder to communicate, to talk things through, or to give things another go. Especially if you have children. But don’t let that hinder your future. You can go on again to love and be married again when you’re ready, and you may certainly thrive in a new dynamic. Just try and remember to do what is right for you. 

Hopefully this brief guide can helps you if you find yourself faced with any of these life-changing circumstances, encouraging you to look back and gain the knowledge and experience needed to move forward, better than ever.

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