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Deja Vu Decisions

When I was younger, I often felt a huge sense of urgency tied to every decision I made. From the friends I chose to my SAT score to the college I decided to attend, I felt like everything determined who and what I would be in the future. Every choice had a buzzer beater type of pressure attached to it (#sports).

Except *spoiler alert* you get multiple chances.

Now, some fifteen years later, I realize I’ve had countless other chances since those big decisions. And I hope that I will have the opportunity to take more in the years to come.

Lately more than ever I’ve been feeling like I’m in that sweet spot in life where I’ve learned from my previous mistakes but I’m still open to chances. It’s liberating to be in a place where I’m no longer making the same mistakes (yay progress!)…but rather, different ones (yay progress?!).

It took a lot of rewiring but in recent years I no longer feel that dreaded sense of urgency attached to every decision I make.

Let me tell you, the extra pressure got tiring after a while. Nothing ruins a first date like expecting the person to be it. Like expecting a near perfect stranger to have (and showcase) all the qualities and comfort you want in your future person. That is a tall order for a first meeting! Same goes for friendships and careers. All these things, all good things, take time to develop which often means there is a lot of trial and error involved.

Having been through so many decisions, both with good and bad outcomes, I no longer feel like every decision is final. As much as Trump is trying, the world hasn’t ended, I’m healthy, have a roof over my head, same goes for my family and friends — as long as I have that, I’m good. So as someone who hated change as a kid, I’ve learned to change my perspective..by well, gaining perspective and courage.

I think this a lot, but getting older is weird. It is so strange to go through things you have gone through before and still vividly recall those previous instances. Knowing you have been in a similar situation before and gotten through it just fine doesn’t make the present moment sting any less, but the added perspective is almost always a benefit to keep me focusing on the long-term. In those moments it feels like I am living in the past, present, and future all at the same time.

As you get older, you have fewer new experiences and you start living through various situations in different ways. It is less exciting but there is some value and comfort in that, I’ve found. I can now almost see the situation coming and I have also found the courage to communicate my thoughts. Normally, as I have done in the past, I would have just let it go. The decision and outcome wouldn’t change, so I never found it a point to say anything.

And yet, even though I do now speak my mind and even if nothing does change, it still feels like the easiest, most stress free decision at the time. Because I can look back in peace, know I did what I could, and said what I needed to say.

Deep down I knew as a child that if things went awry, I wouldn’t speak up about it so this is why decisions felt so momentous to me. I had to get it right on the first attempt. There were no take backs.

And yet here I am, after thousands of attempts, still trying, sometimes still failing and sometimes still succeeding. That’s enough to keep me going.