I’ve always had difficulty in making decisions, half paralysed by the prospect of making the wrong choice. So I would avoid the difficult conversations that come with big decisions, and avoid making a choice completely. Then I wouldn’t fail, because I wouldn’t be making the wrong choice. But no decision is still a decision to accept the status quo (and generally stay miserable). But I am not prepared to remain miserable forever. So now I try to make decisions that improve my life.
I have this image on my wall in a spot I see multiple times each day. It’s such a simple flowchart and a great reminder that you are what stands in your own way of happiness. Are you miserable? Do something about it! Actively doing something is better than nothing. And so what if you don’t like the outcome. Make another decision to change it! Just keep moving forward.
Recently, there has a been a spate of friends making big life decisions, and you can’t get any bigger than starting a family. A friend told me the happy news the other day that he and his lovely wife were expecting their first child. I was genuinely thrilled. It’s such an exciting time for them — and he was as giddy as a schoolgirl. It was wonderful to see him that involved and animated about the whole experience. That’s how babies should be welcomed into this world: wanted and loved.
Making babies is probably the most major life decision you could make. Along the road of life, there’s little notches in time that remind you to take stock and reevaluate things. And when I hear of an event such as this, it’s only natural to turn inward:
What about me? Do I feel anything, aside from excitement for the happy couple? Perhaps a twinge of envy?
In something as complicated as deciphering my need/want to have children, a twinge of envy would be worth exploring in itself. But there was none. I am genuinely happy with my choice, and our choice to not have children. But that being said, my life is still lacking that je ne sais quoi: and I think it’s adventure.
By taking a peek at my Life List, I can honestly say none of it revolves around caring and nurturing a family of my own. And that’s okay. My Life List is a reflection of what I want to achieve in my lifetime. And it’s constantly being updated and revised so that it fits with who I am as a person. Jumping off a waterfall? Maybe that won’t always be on my list (the billabong scene from Japanese Story scared the bejesus out of me!). But that does not make me wish anything less than the best for my friend, nor does it completely rule out having the option, in the future, of changing my mind.
Life happens, whether you make the decisions or not. So that’s when you do something: make a smart, informed decision that works for you. Not every decision is going to be right, but the way I like to see it is that your decision can never be wrong, because it was the best decision for you at that moment. You’ve just got to get on with life and tackle the next decision with all the stored knowledge from previous ones.