I’ve been thinking a lot lately about those big steps we take in our lives, and wondering what it is that prepares us to take those steps. For me, there have been several big decisions in my life…moving cross country for a new job, getting married, getting divorced, moving cross country and taking a risk on a new house and finding a new job, determining cancer treatment options, and quitting a job. And there are many, many lesser decisions that I’ve had to make along the way. Each of these forks in the road presents its own set of possible outcomes. And each one takes us a different amount of time to finally take the plunge. What is it that makes us ready to do the next right thing?
We all make decisions using different processes. Some just impulsively jump, hoping for the best, and not worrying too much about the possible consequences, or what they’re leaving behind. And some of us agonize over big decisions, plotting out the pros and cons (yes, I do this on paper for just about every big decision.) Sometimes we gather the opinions of friends and family. Sometimes that works in our favor, and others not so much. I was raised by parents who both were of the logical, practical mindset. But I like to factor in the fun and adventure, too. And unfortunately, fear is a big driver for me. It’s like a big recipe or science experiment…some of this, some of that…mix it up and see what you end up with.
I was talking with a friend yesterday, and she said maybe it’s not so much about being sick and tired of whatever we’re thinking about changing, but that we’re just so ready for what’s next. I think it’s a mixture of both, for me, at least. I’ve added a step to my pros and cons method, and always ask myself to imagine what it will be like after I choose either path. What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best? How will it affect others, and not just myself? And, to quote my ex-father-in-law, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”
Looking back over the major decisions in my life, they’ve all turned out pretty well, I think. Not always easy, and not always immediately better, but all in all, pretty good. I used to focus on the sick and tired theory, and figured that as soon as I got to that point, it would be time for me to commit to a change. But after thinking about what my friend said, I think it is more about what’s on the other side of the decision. Yes, we might be sick and tired of something, and start to consider a change, but maybe we’re just really ready for the next possibility. The next big adventure. The next right thing.