Lately, I’ve been having to make some very hard adulting decisions, y’all. And I’m not talking about choosing which cereal to pour myself for breakfast (Cinnamon Toast Crunch ftw) or what to wear to work (Leggings. Always leggings.) These little and seemingly insignificant decisions are a part of our everyday lives, something we do without even thinking. It’s the big, life-changing, really important life decisions that trip me up a little bit, and quite frankly, turn yours truly into a giant stress ball. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not the biggest fan of change. I like the familiar, I take comfort in knowing what’s going to happen, of having a plan.
It’s the unchartered territory, the up-in-the-airs, the unknown that makes me nervous, scared, terrified even.
Total type-A, I know.
I realize that life is unpredictable, but hot damn do I wish that it wasn’t sometimes. I mean, I don’t even have to know exactly what’s going to happen, but can’t a girl just get a small hint that things are going to work out okay in the end? Some kind of clue? Like a 2-minute trailer of the future, with a voice over by James Earl Jones obvies.
Case in point: The past few months have been filled with just all of the decisions, and not the “which cereal to eat for breakfast” ones. Professionally, I have been on the ever awesomely fun job hunt for a while now, and was actually lucky enough to be offered two great positions, both within the public library system. Two positions that while I would’ve loved to accept, wouldn’t have been financially the best choice for me. I’m not a proponent of choosing money over happiness by any means, but I also have to be realistic, and the reality was if I did accept either of these offers, I would’ve been in an eating-ramen-every night, turning-my-skivies-inside-out, not-using-my-heat-to-conserve-my-energy bill place. And having been in that place before (hello college), I can honestly say that I’m not a huge fan. They also would’ve been a step down professionally from what I’ve been doing. I really thrive on challenge, on growing and learning and I really don’t think that these two opportunities would’ve granted me that chance.
On top of that, there have been some relationshippy things that have been in the back of my noggin as of late. There was a boy who I mentioned before, a pretty great boy at that, but I had to make the tough decision (Again with the hard! Enough with the hard!) to put the ball in his court, so to speak. I can’t really remember a time when the guy I was seeing/talking to/hanging out with took any initiative, showed near as much as interest as I did, did the pursuing.
Well there was Nick Narlock in third grade who would chase me around the playground and share his Warheads with me, but….
I’m pro-feminist and girl power all the way, but it would be nice for just once to not do the texting first, to not be the one making plans all the time, to have my ‘all-in’ reciprocated. I had to make the difficult decision to respect myself enough to stop chasing something, someone who wasn’t showing me that it, he was worth chasing.
I wish sometimes that you could just rock-paper-scissors an answer. Or maybe Magic 8 ball it. Heads it’s a yes, tails it’s a no. Life would be a lot easier.
Or would it?
Thirty years from now, you won’t remember what cereal you chose at the grocery store (unless it was the limited Chocolate Lucky Charms because holy life-changing, Batman!) On your death bed, you won’t care which vacation cruise package you picked. You won’t recall whether you chose to see the romantic comedy or the action adventure (unless, of course, it’s another Die Hard movie — those are pretty much the best in the history of ever amiright). Of course decisions about your career, your love life (or lack thereof) and your health definitely, probably, most likely will hold a lot more weight, but that still doesn’t mean that there is a wrong choice, a choice that if made, will completely and totally derail you. The choice in and of itself isn’t necessarily the thing that will matter the most.
What will matter is that you acted, that you made a contribution, that you decided to do something. Or that you didn’t. And I think that’s the point.
So much of the time, we (and by we, I mean I) worry about doing the wrong thing and obsess over inconsequential details. The what ifs. The should’ves, the could’ves and the would’ves.
And sadly, we (I) end up squandering the most important moments of our lives as a result.
Life is a journey, not a business plan.
We (I) need to quit trying to control things. I know. Quit planning?! That’s kind of my MO. But do you (I) want to plan your (my) life away or live it?
I guess what I’m trying to learn and am realizing very quickly is that where you’re going doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. Just go. More often than not, you just need to move in a direction, not the direction. Stop worrying too much about which way to go and just get going. As you build momentum, you can learn to steer.
A friend of mine calls this “the bicycle principle.” I think what he means by this is that it’s easier to make changes in life once you’re moving. Just like riding a bike, you can steer more easily the faster you’re going. And conversely, if you’re not moving and you try to steer, you’ll probably end up eating pavement. Isn’t it interesting that failure is what happens not when we move too quickly, but too slowly?
Right?! Stick that in your jar of Nutella, Oprah!
Where you are is nowhere near as final as it seems.
If you’re like me and are having to face these hard adulting decisions, and maybe are unsure of what to do or where to even begin — try picking something. It’s not a fail-proof solution, but it ain’t a bad place to start.
Because the truth is once you start moving, you can always change direction.