Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

There are just some weeks where your life has a theme to it - whether you want it to or not. Just like a novel, sometimes that theme is apparent only after some minor or innocuous scene or comment from a character that suddenly crystallizes everything that's been happening and gives it a cohesive underpinning. Like the 'why' of a characters actions, the theme is the 'why' of the book. Why are these things happening? To what purpose? So when my friend and fellow writer, Cynthia Reeves left a comment on my last blog post about how much she hates making decisions I knew that this had been my life's theme lately. Well, at least my family's theme.

Daughter One is going to university in the fall. Going, that is, if she ever decides which offer to accept. She's narrowed it to two excellent universities both with equally impressive pros and a minimal list of cons (she likes to make lists). She is paralyzed with indecision. The deadline to make a choice is May 28th. I've shortened that to this weekend so as to give us a cushion of a few days should there be any technological glitch with sending the acceptance and paying deposits on line.

Daughter Two is angsting over whether to continue to participate in a team sport that requires her to miss more classes than she's comfortable with (yes, she is that concerned with academics. She's the only teen who's parents encourage her to slack off).

The Boy can't decide on what to have for breakfast. God help us all when he has to make a major life decision.

The Husband loves to discuss, analyze, dissect, weigh, and plan out every major decision in our lives to the point where it might take months or years to come to a decision that's to his satisfaction. Yes, it drives me that nuts. Our home reno has to be done this year - let's hope decisions are made quickly and painlessly.

Me? I hate agonizing over a decision. Makes me physically ill -really. It does. So, if I can cut to the chase and say "That's what I want to do" and be willing to live with whatever consequences afterward then I know I'll be a happier person. Over-analyzing, not moving forward, indeciveness is not a healthy thing for me. Is it for anyone? Of course, there's the risk of making hasty, not well thought out decisions. A lot of people - Daughter One especially - doesn't like making decisions because she's worried about making the wrong one. Making a decision is such a relief but only if you are willing to live with and accept the consequences of it. Only if you can handle any potential regrets from that decision.

I told Daughter One that's the way I make decisions. When I was angsting over whether to have a third child, I asked myself the following question: "What would I regret more? Having a child or not having a child?" I knew I might regret not having another child but I would never - ever - regret having a child. No matter the hard work and sacrifice involved.

So, I said to her, "Which university would you regret NOT going to more?" A light went on in her eyes. I think I know which one she's going to pick. We'll see. I'll let you know.

Anyway, so that's the method I use to make a decision - thinking about which would be my greater regret. What helps you make those hard to make decisions?


  1. You're right, this is similar to my post, except that it sounds like you have a lot of big decisions right now that are hard to make. (Good Luck!)

    I'm with you on just making a decision and living with it. Drawing it out is painful for me. Most of the time, I'd rather just do something (anything) and move on. My husband's decision making sounds a lot like your husband's.

    Luckily, we have been able to talk about our different decision making processes. Sometimes we do it my way, sometimes his - depends on what's at stake. A couple of times DH's decision style helped us to make a better decision and/or save money. So that's a good thing, as long as I haven't jumped out the window before we get to that point.

    Unfortunately, neither one of us is good at picking a restaurant to eat at. Maybe we could ask your son for help? ;) Seriously though. Sometimes it's harder to decide what/where to eat than to decide the big things.

  2. I like lists. Lists of pros and cons. I always do this, though, not sure it works very well.

  3. I'm a list maker but truth be told, I rarely follow the lists once they're made, I tend to go with my heart.

    *Hugs* to you on Daughter #1's choice, either way it sounds like a win-win decision.

  4. Hi Stephanie: Yup, we do have similar approaches to decision making - although you and your hubby seem to have found a nice balance. Must work on that with mine...

    Hi TerryLynne: The list making thing is totally my daughter. Pros and cons are great - as long as a decision is finally made at the end of that list! :)

    Hi Leah! Going with your heart has a lot more value to it than most people think - instinct is primal and shouldn't be ignored. Thanks for the hugs for DD. Hoping to have a decision tonight!

  5. I feel for your daughter--deciding which university to attend IS major. She might rest easier with her ultimate choice if you remind her that it isn't irrevocable. It's a momentous decision, sure, but it isn't set in stone. :) Transfers are quite common when one isn't happy with a school, for whatever reason.

  6. Sometimes I follow my gut instinct, and for other things I do a lot of research to decide what I want.

  7. I love that idea because I have two stories that I'm working on, and even though the style is similar, they are very different books. And I'm trying to decide which one to focus on, meaning which one should I revise and query eventually. Just don't know.

  8. Hi Linda: Absolutely - that is the joy of being young, you have the time to change your mind and go a different way if it doesn't work out!

    Hi Medeia: Sometime I do that too - funny how some decisions you can feel in your gut while others it's not so apparent.

    Hey, Laura! Good luck on making that tough choice. And if they're both good stories you can't lose with going with one or the other of them.