How do you make decisions? Do you hold your nose and take the plunge? Do you tack information up on a board? Do you flip a coin?
I used to be overconfident, cock sure even, until my late twenties. I didn’t perseverate on much. I leapt and then looked, and that worked out just fine, since my decisions up to that point weren’t life-altering, and affected only me.
Enter this guy…this guy who ultimately dragged a giant, overstuffed, lumpy sack of uncertainty into my life. He had, at the beginning, brought everything I felt I needed at that point – he was exotic, intriguing, and just different. I needed different. I was so stifled by the same – the same roads, the same faces, the same workdays, and the same, stale conversations. And I fell into five years that changed my life forever.
Still feeling the invincibility of my early twenties after we met, I continued to live without real care for the footprint I may or may not have been leaving behind. Don’t get me wrong: He and I weren’t spelunking, cliff diving, or treasure hunting by any means. I enjoyed him – to a point – and decided, in my twenty-four-year-old mind, that the negatives were not glaring enough for me to ruminate about. Everything would be fine. Potentially forever.
It was during this relationship that I began to crumble inside. Things that had been opaque and tangible in my life became nebulous and translucent. Anchors that had been firmly bolted down began cracking and heaving under the pressure of the life that was being “provided” for me. All in all, things sucked. He couldn’t find ‘the right fit’ (Don’t you love that phrase?) as far as jobs went (he had sort of a foolhardy air of nobility about him that led to various, uh, situations), and the things I had always taken for granted (i.e., food and shelter) were being hung precariously over my head, just out of my reach.
It was at that point when my sleep began to suffer. I had been a hall-of-fame sleeper my entire life. Nothing really ever kept me up at night, except for a stray boy I liked or worrying that I may not have studied enough for an exam. I spent nights up until 3, 4, or 5am, in cold sweats about my creature comforts, paychecks, rent checks, bills, and my fate in general.
Long story short, and without getting into the actual grime of the situation, in addition to my sleep, I developed a healthy (or unhealthy, as it were) level of anxiety. Things I took for granted, I began worrying about. Things I never questioned became huge, painful inquisitions. It was debilitating.
I found my way out of that situation in 2007 basically unscathed, except for the residual angst. I have a family now, and making decisions seems to be so unnecessarily difficult. What’s worse is I can’t even tell you whether it is a precipitate of the prior situation or just the overwhelming desire to do right by my family.
I ask opinions. I reject them. I ask again. I research. I let things marinate. I look for Pan to come clopping out of the woods to lead the way. And you know what? It’s inefficient. Totally inefficient, terribly ineffective, and categorically not me.
So, I ask you, how do you make your decisions and how can I come around to doing the same? Because I’ve been marinating long enough. I’m soggy.