So I made a decision. It felt like the right decision, a good decision even. I rearranged my life around this decision until all of a sudden, one day, it didn’t feel like a good choice anymore.
I had an amazing afternoon with my girls and this decision means more time away from them. Just when I justified the time away, I found out it was more than I thought.
Then I was drowning in anxiety because I had committed to this decision. I had made plans and spent countless hours worrying about these plans and arranging, and rearranging until it just felt right. Then it didn’t and my mind was angry because I wanted it to feel right. I wanted to be able to make this not right decision feel right again and I went around in angry frustrated circles of hopelessness. Until I didn’t.
I popped popcorn and watched a movie with my kids instead of continuing to take it out on them. When they were in bed I did yoga. It helped (even if there was a toddler butt doing “ down dawggy” in my face.) I texted a friend, or two, or three, anyone who would listen to me really. I tried to figure out why my anxiety was triggered so bad and tease out why I made the decision in the first place versus why I wanted it to be the right one now.
I didn’t want to be ”that person”. The one who can’t make up her mind. I didn’t want to close a door forever or regret later not taking an opportunity. I didn’t want to back out of something I had worked hard to attain or seem ungrateful for the help I had attaining it.
Something was missing though. Peace. And joy. The decision was only bringing me stress and anxiety. I didn’t want to do it at all anymore but changing my mind because “I don’t feel like it” still seems wrong to me even though I’m not sure what benefit or purpose it serves in my life to continue down a road of shoulds that are stealing my joy.
While the alternate scenarios to the decision are less than perfect, there isn’t even a guarantee that this choice would lead to a better situation. Only a hope and a month I wouldn’t get back.
I hear all the voices. “You should try! How will you know if you don’t try? It will be a good learning experience. Too good of an opportunity to pass up.” but I’ve made that mistake before. I took a job I didn’t really want because I was so proud they offered it to me. I went even while knowing it wasn’t what I really wanted. I quit half way and plunged myself into depression for the weeks of forcing myself into a wrong decision.
There was little grace for my quitting and I know that my choice to quit had many consequences, but many years later, and much wiser, I know it was the right choice. I learned more from quitting than I would have from powering through and I took care of me. I learned that when a decision feels wrong, it probably is. That choosing something because you should, or you made all your plans around it, even when you no longer want to do it, can be a bad idea.
Every decision bears the weight of a thousand considerations. There are always consequences good and bad. While there are many reasons to do things that supersede wanting to, like necessity, when all that is stripped away you have to listen to your heart and pursue peace.
There may be days I don’t want to parent or go to work, but the overarching feeling is one of pursuit. I find peace in the bigger picture if not the everyday mundane. Some things are worth fighting for and finding the peace, others we need to let go. The decisions of which is which is not easy.
The minute I admitted the decision no longer was worth fighting for, the guilt I felt at changing plans, or the embarrassment I felt at seeming flakey was overtaken by a peace settling over me. I felt sad to let go of something I felt I wanted, anxious at how to approach unorganizing everything, and even worried about what alternative might lie before me, but such a deep raw peace. A knowing of what I must do, even while knowing the consequences.
What used to take me months of mental energy seemed to come to me so much quicker. Instead of fighting the anxiety I sat with it a bit. I listened. My heart still pounds and my jaw aches from clenching. The shivers of dread still ripple, but for now, I write, so in the morning when my friend anxiety calls again, I’ll remember. I’ll remember the path I took to come to the new decision and I’ll know if it still feels right.
As this day comes to a close and I read my hastily scrawled words from last night I realize again how anxiety lies. It creates stories and wreaks havoc with the imagination. Today I was open and honest in my undeciding. The decision is not unmade forever, just set aside until the time is right.
Friends who were there to help make the decision happen are still there to make it unhappen.
This is a mind on fire. Dry tinder ready for the smallest spark to burst into a burning rage, blinding rational thought. I’m watering my mind, with yoga and breathing and writing. Friends who know what to say and gentle self-talk. Here is to self-love and deep honesty.