I feel so despondent and regret decisions I have made.


I'm a senior in high school and I feel downtrodden. I feel so despondent I just don't know how to get out of this rut I am in. I miss people that I've lost over the silliest of reasons, I wish I would've gotten better grades last semester even though they were near perfect, I regret some of the decisions I have made in life, and most of all I am accepted into a college that is thousands of miles away from my home state. I don't know how to respond even though it was my first choice. I feel like I shouldn't go. I don't know what to do. I can say I feel overwhelmed. I know I'll regret not going to the college of my choice, and there is really nothing stopping me but myself. I have come to realize something about myself: I have a habit of limiting myself and keeping myself from anything good. I wish I could stop doing it. I don't understand why I do.


You didn't give me much to go on, so it is hard to give advice. My guess is that you are a bit of a perfectionist. You hate committing to things that you are certain you won't complete perfectly. I would like you to read the article, "Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Badly."

What seems to be lacking is a choice to be content and happy with things life presents to you. I would also like you to listen to a series of lessons by Oscar Miles, called "The Pursuit of Happiness."

When you get done, let me know about one major choice in your life. Lay it out in four columns. In the first write down all the advantages to the first choice, in the second the disadvantages to the first choice, in the third the advantages of the second choice, and in the fourth the disadvantages of the second choice. If by the time you complete this exercise, the choice isn't clear, write to me and let me know what are the difficulties. Perhaps we can work it out together.

After listening to the Pursuit of Happiness lessons I have decided that I really really want and need to learn more about how to be all of the things he talked about. I need more humility mostly and I'm very good at putting off my responsibilities on other people like the "Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Badly" article.

The one major thing that I would like to start with is college. I am accepted into two colleges in the northeast. The advantages of going to the first college are: a change of scenery, broader opportunities, and a lesson in freedom. The disadvantages: living so far from my family and home church, not knowing anyone in  the city, broader range of opportunities to get into trouble because the city is large. The advantages of  going to the second college are: they offer my current desired major, it is a small town setting, it will provide a wide range of new experiences. The disadvantages: I don't know anyone in the town, and I'll be far away from my family and home church. Getting accepted into the two colleges I count as a blessing in themselves and I know that I will regret not going to one of the two.

I also realize that I have a very hard time being comfortable with or feeling good about one thing that I have. Perhaps I have a "wandering soul." I feel like I am always either overwhelmed or looking for SOMETHING to fill some imaginary gap.

For a young adult, the desire to spread your wings and try something out of your routine is normal and expected.

You broke down two of your choices, but in this particular decision you are wrestling with more than two choices. There is also the choice of not going. You should list the advantages and disadvantages of staying. For example, if you stayed, what would you do? What would your career possibilities be?

The big hold up, it appears to me, is that you will be lacking a network of friends and family to support you if you select one of the two colleges. What I suggest is that you put that criteria near the top. Before going anywhere, find out what church you would attend while there. Visit it several times to see if you will find it sound and the people supportive. I did this most of my life. I rarely moved without first considering what church I would be attending.

It also appears that you are limiting yourself in your choices. If two distant colleges are willing to accept you, then most likely others would as well. Are these really your only two choices or are they the easiest to pursue because they have already said "yes?" Have you looked at another that might be closer to home, perhaps allowing you to go home on long weekends? Have you look into one that is located in a region that you are particularly interested in living for a while?