Life’s decisions come in all sizes, shapes, and with an odd sense of timing. That means, when we look back on a decision in life, we can ask ourselves, “Why the hell did I do that?” Or, the more frequent, “What the hell was I thinking?” Here’s why and what…
We make decisions after much thought and shortly after no thought at all. Decisions are important, yet we give little consideration to some of the most important decisions in our lives.
Turn left at the light. Red tie or blue? Should I date that woman? Another hot dog won’t hurt.
I’ve lived in Hawaii off and on for more than 35 years. The first visit was as a tourist in 1974. The last move was in the last century.
What decision process did I go through for the decision to actually move to live in Hawaii? That decision certainly altered the course of my adult life; some of it good, some of it not so good.
As with many momentous decisions in adult life, this one was made rather frivolously.
At the time, I had just finished up a degree in speech communications at Black Hawk College in Moline, IL. The cold Iowa winter winds blow hard across the Mississippi into Illinois, so I was certain I would not spend my dying days there. Unless I froze to death first.
I thought about going on to school for another degree. For a guy who barely finished high school, I was as surprised as anyone else at achieving Magna-cum-laude honors in college.
Apparently, America’s colleges are easy to get into and out of.
One of the first schools that came to mind was the University of Missouri at Columbia. I’m from Missouri. They have a famous journalism school. By then I knew how to write mostly complete sentences (mostly). So, I thought, why not?
Black Hawk’s Learning Resources Center (what used to be a Library) had a large number of college curriculum catalogs on hand. I sat down and browsed a few.
Those catalogs are a brief history of the school (in a thick brochure-like form), a look at the curriculum focus, school activities, some faculty information, and, importantly, the cost per semester for school tuition.
Back then, the cost for a semester at the University of Missouri was $525 for in-state tuition. I still had my Missouri driver’s license so I figured I would qualify for the lower rate.
I looked through other catalogs. The schools in Florida looked attractive. It was hot in Florida. No thanks. My father always loved Oregon, so I checked out major colleges and universities in Oregon.
They’re quite proud of their institutions of higher learning in Oregon. They also loved out-of-state students and charged them a premium for the privilege of shivering in the great Northwest while learning about liberal ideals. $1,800 a semester? That was back in the last century. I wasn’t that much of a liberal.
A college friend had a family member serving in the Navy and visited Hawaii for awhile. She raved about how nice the weather was in Hawaii. The weather is not nice in Moline, Illinois in January. Or February. Or March. Or… ever. You get the idea.
Would Black Hawk’s Learning Resources Center also have a college catalog from the University of Hawaii?
They did. And I read it from end to end. Twice.
Don’t misunderstand. Hawaii is, has been, and will always be an expensive place to live. Back in those days I had no debt, plenty of energy, and I was skinny enough, and poor enough to stay that way for awhile.
Better yet, the price tag for a full, all-you-eat-in-classes semester for out-of-state students attending the University of Hawaii was a measly $526.
That was one dollar a semester more than the in-state tuition for the University of Missouri. Better yet again, after my first six months in Hawaii, I would be considered in-state and the semester price would drop by nearly half.
Hello, Waikiki Beach.
See how easy a simple decision can change the course of a life? My daughter and I packed up what we had, bought a couple of tickets and headed to paradise. We found a place of our own, and never looked back.
That’s not true. I’m looking back now.
Looking back, the decision to move was almost frivolous, it was so simple. Yet, the course of life changed and continued to change because of that decision.
Was it a change for the better? Sometimes. Sometimes not.
If I had it to do all over again, knowing what I know now, would I make the same decision again?
Of course not. Don’t be silly. If I had it to do all over again, knowing what I know now, I’d make plenty of different decisions long before the time for that decision ever cropped up.