One summer between school grades, my parents offered me a choice. I could stay in school in Juarez, Mexico, or I could go to school in El Paso. For me, it was a hard choice. I had all of my friends in Juarez. My English wasn’t good at all, so I’d have to learn that if we moved just a couple of miles north or where we lived. And I had no clue what was waiting on the other side.
The fact that you’re reading this in English and that you’ve probably checked out my “About” page might tell you that I made the decision to go to El Paso, and you would be correct. It wasn’t all up to me, though. No self-respecting parent would ever make a choice like that for their child relying solely on the child’s input, right? Let’s just say that mom and dad kind of gently coaxed me into making a decision that changed my life.
I’ve had to make a ton of tough choices throughout my life. When I finished college, I chose to pick up and move from El Paso to a little town in south-central Pennsylvania. That was not at all easy, as you can probably imagine. I had flow up for the interview and to look around the town, but I had no idea of what I was really getting myself into. “Culture clash” doesn’t quite begin to define what happened there… But it was all for the best. I met my wife, we fell in love, and the rest is history.
Marrying my wife was a choice in itself. Deciding to have a child also was a big decision that had to be made. Buying a house? Yep, big decision. And so on and so forth. There has been one big decision in my life after another.
The best thing about becoming an adult is that I’ve learned to live with the consequences of my decisions. There have been some good consequences and some bad ones. Either way, I’ve learned to “man-up” and accept whatever comes from what I’ve done. That doesn’t mean that there are no regrets, but it also means that I’ve allowed myself to make laugh at some of the dumb things I’ve done. (Though I sometimes wince at the thought of what I did…)
So I look forward to the decisions, big and small, that need to be made in the future. (One really big one in the near future, but that’s for some other blog post at some other time.) Hopefully, the bad decisions that I made in the past taught me a lesson, and those decisions — together with the good ones — encouraged me to learn to make even better ones in the future.
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
About History of Vaccines: I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Please read the About page on the site for more information.
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