My, my, the difference a week can make.
I admitted last week that I had a big decision in front of me, one that, by it’s very nature, was going to change the course of my life, because it would mean ending up in one of two very different places, each with it’s own challenges. My biggest issue with that decision was not figuring out which was the right answer but figuring out that there wasn’t one “right” answer. That’s never been an easy place for me to be. I’ve always believed there was a right answer and a less-than-right answer to things, but this week has demonstrated over and over again that that was exactly the challenge before me.
Needless to say, as much as I wanted to make a decision, I wasn’t looking forward to actually making it. Until I did. I wish I could say it came about very seriously, after much internal struggle that finally ended in illumination. The truth is, it kind of slipped out. Almost disappointing, considering the amount of anxiety I was having over it. But that’s just how it is, sometimes.
Not all of life’s big moments come with fanfare. And I know why this time. Because I had already made the decision. Somewhere deep down, I knew what I wanted it to be. And finally I was able to let myself let it be. Next thing I know, I’m telling my mom, which inevitably meant telling my family, and then the one person I knew would be most excited about it.
Eerily enough, I felt good about letting it out. For about five seconds. I told my mom, and she was happy that I had finally made a decision and supportive of it.
And then she started asking questions. Did I know where I was going to live? Had I looked for jobs yet?
Perfectly reasonable questions, but I found myself wilting under them. All my excitement, my relief at finally being able to say what I wanted, began to drain away.
One decision had been made, but there were oh, so many more to make now that it had.
Life comes at you fast. Even when you plan for it. Even when you are actually making decisions and taking charge and all the things you are supposed to be doing.
In fact, that seems to speed it up sometimes. The moment you make one decision, a hundred more appear. Like when you make the mistake of feeding one cat in your neighborhood. Next thing you know, there is every other cat showing up at your backdoor.
So, as much as I was excited about the next step, I felt overwhelmed by it at the same time. I had only just made the decision officially and already it felt like I was behind, running out of time on all the other decisions that needed to be made in order to make it work.
How am I going to live? Where? What am I going to be doing? And, naturally, I couldn’t answer any of these questions. Mostly because I had only just figured where I was even going, and, oh right, I’ve never been there before.
Eventually, I got over it. A lot of that came by telling other people. That’s the thing about sharing your issues, you gain perspective. You realize that you don’t have to have everything figured out right now. You have time. More than that, you have people in your corner. More even that that, you have people who are excited for you.
Really excited. And that makes all the difference in the world. That makes you excited again.
Every decision leads to another decision. Such is life. We really wish it didn’t sometimes. We would all like to hit “pause” every now and then, to take a break and know that we weren’t missing anything by taking a break. But, sadly, no. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to answer all the questions now.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve seen how this works in writing. In a lot of the stories I write, I don’t always know what is going to happen next. I might know the ending, the destination, but I don’t always know how I’m going to get there. And yet, I am still able to write the book.
Chapter by chapter. Scene by scene. Line by line. Sometimes I know what the next thing has to be. Sometimes I’m fumbling blindly through. But in each case, I know where my focus has to be.
On writing the next scene. And now, as I am faced with a mountain of decisions, with a long and unknown road to get where I want to go, I know that’s what I have to do. Not worry about every decision, not obsess over the amount that are still unanswered, but focus on the next one. And the next. And the next.
Making choices has always been hard for me. For this reason and so many others, but I’m learning, and I know there’s value in that. I know that’s why I’m here, why things are not as easy as I would like them to be. Because that’s the challenge, and so that’s where the growth is going to happen. And maybe that’s the sign that I’m on the right path. If there wasn’t a next step, that would mean I’d reached a dead end. But there is one.
Every decision leads to the next decision. And the next. And the next. And that’s how we live.