27 February 2012

The Road Less Traveled

I sometimes like to play a little game with myself. It is completely pointless and accomplishes a whole lotta not much but random speculation, but it sometimes fun to ponder.

What's this game? I like to think back to big moments of my life and wonder what it would've been like if I had taken that other fork in the road. This is not a game of Regrets for me, I am not wishing for my life now to be something it is not. But these big decisions have obviously made my life drastically different from what it may have been. Two examples ...

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Now this was far beyond my realm of control at the time, but when I was three, my family moved us from Taipei to the US. My entire extended family was in Taiwan and only my mom's mom was in the States at the time, so we knew practically no one. My parents had to start from scratch here, learn a new language, get jobs, a home, care for two young girls. We started out in NJ, and then moved to NY after two years. All my schooling has been done in the States, I sound like any other American girl, I got my first unofficial job when I was 14, can speak but can't write Chinese, was an English Lit major through college.

If we had stayed in Taipei, I would've had a huge network of family - my dad was the second youngest of seven siblings and I have twenty-something cousins. I obviously would've written and spoken Chinese fluently - would I even have known English? Would my interests be the same, would be career path be vastly different, would I have already been married, had kids?

IMG_2788  IMG_2799

Right after college, I decided to move across the country to be with my then-boyfriend. After my move, I got the first job that I could, in marketing, and signed the contract to my very first apartment rental. My relationship with then-boyfriend didn't last long after that, but I bought my first car out there, got into serious credit card debt, met a myriad of new people, determined my career path, found an independence and confidence in my myself that I could have never expected.

My career path during college was in publishing and my then-dream was to become a book editor. I also had friends who were studying to be gallery managers, psychologists, business analysts - we were going to become the  real life version of Sex and the City. Life not being like a stylish sitcom however, book editing jobs being difficult to come by and salaries rarely  enough to afford a lifestyle with big loft ceilings in Tribeca - would I still be living at home? Would I be playing the dating game? Would I still be close to my then-BFFs? Would I have gotten a job in a vastly different field than I studied for, been allowed to travel, had any interest to start a style blog?

Do you sometimes think back to big decisions in your life and wonder what may have happened if you made the other decision? What were some key decision points in your life?

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Sweater: Old Navy 3/4-sleeve (worn here - sim, pricey, casual, white)
Top: J.Crew solid perfect (worn here - sim, sim)
Skirt: H&M drop-pocket (worn here - sim, pricey, luxe)
Necklace: J.Crew resin colorblock (worn here - sim, sim, sim, pricey)
Shoes: KC Reation swim n fool (worn here - sim, platform, point-toed)

48 comments:

  1. Oh, good question! I think my biggest life choice has been where I went to college - I was accepted and ENROLLED at a very expensive, very prestigous, private university about an hour away from my parent's house, all set to be pre-med.

    And then in April of my senior year of high school I decided I wanted to major in political science so I dropped out of the expensive university and applied to a state school two hours away. I went to a high school where college was not a priority, so I literally knew NO ONE and decided to rush a sorority. Without going to school there I would not have ended up in my career path and I would not have met my boyfriend. For that matters, he almost went to a state school in a different state so we would have never met if that happened - I'm obviously glad we both ended up where we did!

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    1. I totally forgot about college - I remember I had narrowed things down to two schools. One little college far away from the parents or a major university close to the family.

      And I tried to be premed once too - that lasted about a semester ...

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  2. Love, love, love navy and green paired together. Just got a pair of green jeans and love them.

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  3. P.S. Loving the leopard shoes... I might have to try my leopard flats with my green jeans. :)

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    Replies
    1. I need leopard flats in my life, seriously. Because they go with everything.

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  4. Oh yes, I do this pretty frequently. I am always so thankful that I broke up with my high school boyfriend (we went out for 2+ years), because he was a drug addict/cheater and I just KNEW he was wrong for me. Don't get me wrong, I was in love for most of that time, but when I went to college, I knew it was time to move on b/c I was worth more than that. I know if I had stayed with him, I would have probably started to follow in his footsteps and do things that were bad for me. He ended up killing himself about 6 or 7 years ago. I am EVER so thankful that I didn't stay with him. Would I have ended up the same way? Thank goodness, I'll never know. I love my life now.

    http://bestdressedinthenest.tumblr.com

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    1. Wow, that is heavy. I can only see you as you are now, with your beautiful family and beautiful self - you are so blessed now!

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  5. I love the emerald green and the stripes, it looks so pretty on you! Probably the biggest decision I made was almost 2 years ago when I quit my job, moved out of my NYC apartment, and in with my now hubby (then fiance) in Jersey. Of course my hubby and I weren't going to live in 2 different states but sometimes I think I should've just sucked up the 2 hour commute to my job since my career has suffered since I've moved.

    -Sharon
    The Tiny Heart

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  6. Isn't it fun to look back on "what if this never happened?" It's funny because most of the time when you go through something rough (a move, a job change, a break-up), it can seem like this can no way be for the better, but then after a few years of reflection, it is often just what you needed! Great post as usual Lisa! Love all your green and your new layout!

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    1. Better or worse, our past lives are what make us who we are now. And I can't imagine myself any other way now!

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  7. I imagine what life would be like if I had chosen what was behind Door #2. I was a biology major and decided to go to law school instead of getting my PhD. Even after going far away for law school I ended up back in NJ, but who would be my friends if I had gone to grad school instead? Would I have met my boyfriend? Would I have stayed stagnant in my old relationships? Who knows? But, I am happy with my life now and every scenario I imagine making other choices wouldn't make me as happy.
    AND what would life be like if I had never discovered leopard shoes!
    Tara
    Penniless Socialite

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    Replies
    1. Leopard shoes, haha, you're right. No seriously, you're right. I love leopard soes.

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  8. Love how you doubled up on the greens here! :)
    Hmm, one big decision I made was to move to California soon after graduating from college. It was a huge step but it really helped me develop professionally and personally. :)

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  9. It's fun to play the "what if" game sometimes... but more fun to live with no regrets :)

    loving your necklace!

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  10. Ah yes... the door #2 questions. I probably would have been single and with out kids and jet lagged. While the jet lag part still has some appeal, my life is beyond beautiful as is...and I would not change a thing.

    I love the colors here. Love the greens!

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  11. Most decisions that have been made in my past have turned to make my life so much better so I wouldn't have changed it any other way. For eg. moving house from this countryish town to the more suburban jungle :)
    Loving the stripes and the green :)

    katattack2000.wordpress.com

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  12. love the blue and green! i wish i could wear that color green...

    i always think that would've happened if i had gone to public HS - would i have gotten a scholarship to college? what if i had gone away all 4 years? never met my friend in HS who introduced me to my now fiance?

    but... i still wouldn't change a thing. otherwise... i might not be where i am today.

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    1. I wouldn't change anything either ... but yes, I totally wish I could at least have a peek into alternate Lisa sometimes, because I hope she's doing well! ;o)

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  13. I like playing the " what if" game when things don't go well. We all make mistakes when we're growing up. But I think we end up where we are by fate/God's plan. I'm an optimist so like to think positive even if things are bad.

    Love how you layer your green shirt with the green stripe sweater. Amazing combination! Love it !

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  14. you have such a lovley blog, i just found it and immidiately had to follow you via bloglovin! your outfits are very inspirational, great!
    well, to answer your question on this post - whose outfit i really like, I'm so into stripes at the moment! - well, my key decisions:
    to be together now with somebody I love because of a little email I wrote two years ago that made us both think about our friendship and decide that we want more
    to study musicology in Munich and to follow my passion for music even if it's not easy to find a (normal) paid job in the cultural sector
    to continue after my master with a phd because I love music and want to know more about it even if I don't want to work at the university/in research later
    and finally: to have started pilates last year (this may be just something little, but it was very important to me, I feel way better now than before!)
    thanks for this great post and sharing a bit of your life!
    xxx Anita

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    Replies
    1. Your answers are fantastic - the first one about sending the e-mail to your now-BF makes my heart pitter patter!

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  15. Hey hon, I love reading your insights into life and the world around you. I can really relate to this post. I was born in Pakistan, raised in Saudi Arabia, spent a year in the Netherlands before we came and settled in Canada. I often think of what life could have been like if we had stayed put in any one of those other spots. Life is a magical carpet ride huh?

    xoxo
    www.natashafatah.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Wow, those are vastly different lifestyles you could have had!

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  16. I often wonder too, but I quickly give up on it because I find it frustrating not to know :) I absolutely love this look you have on Lisa!
    www.saysskippy.blogspot.com

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    1. I know what you mean ... I don't want to change my life, but wouldn't I like a peek into an alternate reality sometimes! ;o)

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  17. I do ponder too sometimes... how differently life would be for me had I gone down a certain path...
    Anyway... I ADORE this combo!

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  18. Oh my god. I haven't been on your blog in so long, I have NO idea why.

    I think you're awesome. As someone who's trying to figure out her career, it's nice to see that people don't always have everything 100% planned.

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  19. I love this green and black pairing. But what I love even more is the addition of the leopard heels. And your necklace just ties it all together.

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  20. This outfit looks fabulous on you!! Love the stripes and layering....oh and I'm loving the bare legs!! Yay for warmer weather!!

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  21. My entire family lives in Chicago, so for me, the biggest decision was to move away and I've been on the move ever since to both coasts until my current job on the East Coast. I would have had a larger support network in Chicago, but on the other hand, I wouldn't have been as independent and definitely would not have met my husband, who's a New Englander. My sister stayed behind and I can see how she's become stuck in a never-never land of not being quite grown up. One bad decision was the choice of a graduate school where I had a terrible experience with an advisor, but that actually led to me moving on to a better graduate program which gave me more opportunities. No regrets or backward glances at all. My memory's gotten so bad over the years that I probably wouldn't remember anyway!

    Loving the leopard too!

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  22. I love the stripes and the bold, happy colors. I've been hankering for some stripes lately - have my eye on a Boden long-sleeve white-and-navy striped tee. Nicely done, and topped off with those adorable shoes!

    Ah yes - the road not taken. I married very young, and sometimes I wonder how my life would have turned out had I remained single. I have a sneaking suspicion that I would still be single, living in Boston, and working in something related to music. This wouldn't be better, and it wouldn't be worse; simply, different from how things turned out based on the choices I actually did made.

    Interesting thought - thanks for the post :).

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  23. The road less traveled has proved to be far more interesting than the conventional choices I ignored. I'm so happy to have read the poem years and years ago because it definitely inspired me. I have an image on my vision board that I'll have to Pinterest -- two diverging roads. You always have great questions and share interesting parts of yourself. So thanks for that :)

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  24. I have been in love with green color of all shade lately and it is just odd because green is not my top choice of color when it comes to clothes. The combo you put together of green, black, gold and animal print is rich and lovely. I have to give it a shot.

    Life is so full of surprises. Thanks forfor sharing your stories. I have made a few big decisions in life that changed my life forever but have not regret a thing. One of them must be marrying my husband and moving here alone without my family. I have significantly grown and matured in a way that i dont think i could do if i still lived with my parents.

    I sometimes enjoy cake eithout icing or frosting too. Too much sugar..haha.

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  25. Your shoes, as always, are KILLER. Loving the print. Your whole outfit is super cute.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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  26. First, you look fabulous! I love the layered shirts and the pop of leopard. Leopard is always perfect.

    Second...hm...I think the only things I really wonder about are what if I hadn't gotten married (considering I'm now divorced). Since we're still such good friends though and have a beautiful daughter out of it, I can't wonder too much. I'm happy. :)

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  27. really like the navy sweater =)

    xoxo*

    follow me:
    http://sweetlittlestuff.blogspot.com/

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  28. I love the shoes with this look, really completes the outfit!

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  29. Lisa, I truly believe everything you experience in life prepares you for something further down the road. You may not understand certain things right now, but usually later on you'll have that a-ha moment. Ex: If I didn't do this, then I would've never met him etc. Try not to think or look back, but continue moving forward. Your outfit is so cute. I really love it. The color combination is pretty.

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  30. Oh my gosh I am loving this look especially your shoes! xo

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  31. I've definitely spent time (usually every few months) pondering the 'what ifs' of whatever the main focus my life happens to be taking at the time. What if I went to a huge state school instead of a science tech school? What if I really did go into the musical theater business? What if I became an animal rights activist, or a vet, or a marine biologist, or a literature major? What if I stayed in Switzerland after my internship? The list goes on, as I'm sure they all do. The good thing is that I don't have regrets about anything...I just like to romanticize out what my life could have been like in those timelines...

    BTW - I thought your entire outfit was green and black until the last post! The magic of cameras...

    ...Lauren

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  32. I try not to think about the "what ifs" since it only make me resent my current situation and the people around me. My life motto is everything and everyone comes in your life for a reason whether to make you stronger or weaker. Plus I wouldn't be me if I took a different way! :)

    Lovely outfit! I really like your green blouse and chunky necklace!

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  33. First of all, how on earth did I miss this sweater at Old Navy? Similarly to you, my parents came to the US from Taiwan 35 years ago and had to learn a new language and so forth. If they never came to the US I imagine that my life would be a lot different... Oh and for the career thing...I made the wrong decision where I started, I hope the last 7 years of my working experience won't be totally in vain.

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  34. I totally know what you mean about life's decisions and not having regrets after such big decisions in life. I really like this post and your outfit is soo cute, I can't believe that is from Old Navy. I need to start shopping there more often! You look so put together and super chic.

    Thanks for stopping by
    xoDale
    www.savvyspice.com

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  35. I admit, I try not to focus too much on what I coulda done, but it's definitely hard some times. I wonder what career I would have had if I hadn't chosen to move and go to grad school! But, at the same time, I love how much I've learned, and it's been an exciting ride :)

    Love the green stripey outfit!

    Lorispeak

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  36. i do it all the time.
    what if
    what if
    what if !

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  37. I love this outfit, but I love the message of the blog more! I've blogged about this as well. I don't have regrets but I do wonder sometimes....

    Katie- Hems For Her

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