If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not making decisions ~ Catherine Cook
I am the worst at making decisions. Especially when it comes to really big decisions, life changing, pivotal moment, decisions. I’m especially bad at any decision that involves another person, such as in matters of the heart. But also, I’m really bad at the ever present decision of “where should we go for dinner?”
I recall a time, when I was much younger, that making decisions was no big deal for me. I’m not sure that I even spent much time debating in my head. There were no pro/con lists. I simply “flew by the seat of my pants” or followed my heart and went for it. This was not without its repercussions, of course, but in my early twenties, there was not much that I couldn’t rebound from. After all, isn’t that what being in your twenties is all about? Making impulsive decisions, having the time of your life, come crashing down to reality and dealing with the consequences? I thought so.
When I was 19, after my first year of university, I worked for The Bank as a teller. For the summer, I had an opportunity to work full time in a specialty position with The Bank, I simply needed to interview “as a formality”. It truly was a formality, as I went through the interview process with flying colours and was offered the position immediately. At the very same time, a boy I was “seeing”, okay, the boy I was madly, head over heels, in love with (at that time anyway) was spending a semester abroad in Bangkok, Thailand. He wanted me to visit him. He paid for half of my ticket and off I went, much to my mother’s chagrin, declining the job offer at The Bank. Instead opting to travel and fall in love in Thailand.
Was I impulsive? Absolutely.
Did I have the time of my life? Without a doubt, unsurpassed to this day!
Did I come crashing down to reality? Of course I did.
And the consequences? Well I dealt with those also, knowing the entire time that whatever I had to do, it was well worth it. No regrets.
Fear was not a recognized feeling when I was in my early twenties. Thrill-seeking behaviours, impulsive decisions, making mistakes, were part of the process, part of the journey. The rush of adrenaline was motivating and enticing. I’m not sure if it’s purely age that’s brought on my risk aversion, but I definitely have a heightened awareness of what could possibly go wrong and what the consequences of that could look and/or feel like.
I seem to be more hesitant to go for it anymore. Instead choosing a more conservative approach or the safer route. I avoid abrupt right or left turns, preferring a straight road. One where I can maintain my false semblance of control and avoidance of pain. Greatness has never been born from moving with safety or muted attempts at living life. Making decisions based on the “smart” choice, the logical path or the one that could potentially prevent pain, ignores the possibility of greatness.
When it comes to matters of the heart, the safe choice, the pain avoidance option, may mean shutting a door that may never be open again. A lawyer friend of mine told me, in the course of my work, that there is nothing that can’t be unfucked. And in law, that may be true, but when you are dealing with feelings, emotions and hope, nothing is certain, except that some things can be well and truly fucked. Especially when someone else is involved. This knowledge makes those impulsive decisions and non-decisions that much more vital. Choosing safety over a risk, with someone, can lead to that fork in the road eliminating themselves from the landscape. And although a straight road is safer, it’s definitely not as fun to drive.