Perhaps it’s in our nature to be paralyzed with indecision.
When I was in Belgium the first time, one of my dearest friends was feeling this acutely. You see, for months and months, maybe even years, she had wanted to visit Asia. And the time was coming. She was going to take six months or a year off and start in Nepal, where a friend of hers could host her and show her around. She was going to explore and adventure and spend some time exploring herself as well as the landscape.
But there was this guy.
Tale as old as time, right?
And so there she was, feeling torn. Does she shorten her trip or maybe even stay if she falls in love? Does she head to Asia anyway? Will she regret her decision either way?
Uncertainty was her constant bedfellow.
In one of our conversations on the topic, I told her to take some comfort. “Think about it,” I said. “All of your options are good.”
If you choose Asia (or if things don’t work out with the guy), you’ll have unforgettable adventures. You’ll see the world and yourself in a new light. You’ll fall in love with another culture. You’ll collect funny travel stories. You’ll sneak away for a while. You’ll have something that’s just yours.
If you fall in love with the guy, you’ll have that. Love. Romance. Contentment. Whatever comes with it. And falling in love doesn’t preclude your adventures. You could still go, perhaps for a shorter time or perhaps with the guy in tow. Love and travel aren’t mutually exclusive desires.
After that conversation, that phrase kept coming back to me again and again throughout the summer.
“All of your options are good.”
Because I, too, am indecisive. Should I apply for a Belgian visa and make artsy, intriguing Ghent my home base? Should I spend an entire year traveling Europe—hopping in and out of the schengen zone as needed? Should I start the dog’s paperwork for Hawaii and plan a Hawaii-New Zealand jaunt in the coming year?
And what about my business? What shifts do I want to make with CFDG in the coming year? Should I start pursuing speaking opportunities? Writing more? Or just continuing to do the behind-the-scenes, day-to-day strategy and writing work?
It’s ridiculous how stressed I get about this stuff. Because, as I told my friend per her dilemma:
“All of your options are good.”
Really, really good.
Which just goes to show you how indecisive we can be even when our lives are full of wonderful possibilities.
So this is where I pause from my travelogues and remind myself (and perhaps you as well) that so many of the decisions we tear ourselves up over are really just decisions about one wonderful pathway or another. There’s not always a right and a wrong answer. Sometimes, all of your options are good.
(And in case you’re wondering, there’s a serious lean toward the European visa option.)
I like this! Thanks…
I’ve had the exact same thought a few times, mainly when trying to work out where to go next on my international adventures.
Where you go, whatever you do it will be good. I
By the same token, it will also be bad. But you can’t divine the future so when given to possible options where both seem to be equally attractive it really doesn’t matter.
Oh yeah, another thing… it’s important to actually make a choice and commit to it. The worst thing you can do is do nothing. That’s just wasting time.
Excellent point, Will. All of our good options are also unknown options. It’s all about making the choice.
Analysis Paralysis … it is tricky. I agree with Will … the worse thing is the lack of decision. Each one will have a “loss” and a “win”. so just choose one, commit and DO.
@Monte – Amen!
[…] realized that life isn’t full of right paths and wrong paths – that, for the most part, all of our options are good. I don’t have to wrestle an angel for every little decision. That I can do what’s right […]
Gigi, it seems that every time I feel like I’m at a cross roads with what to do with my life and where to go, you’ll post/repost a blog that helps clarify things. I’m still undecided but whatever I decide will be good. Thanks for your inspirational words.
So glad to hear it. You’re welcome!
I’ll agree that all options are possibly good, but I’m not sure all are equally good. Using your example of your friend. Emotions are persuasive, because after all the “there’s a guy” emotion is the results of millions of years of evolution trying to force us to reproduce.
But the reality is that for any one of us there are a lot of possible mates, and by and large no one is “better” than any other.
On the other hand, your friend had planned for years to do her 6-month adventure. Most people don’t make those plans more than a few times in life, and so every one of them is special. Not to mention that they are often opportunities that if lost are never going to come back.
You never said what your friend did, but I hope it was the trip. There will always be another guy.
I like the idea of making decisions and taking the options that open up the largest number of other options. The more ducks you can line up in advance of needing them, the better.
Excellent points. I tend to agree with you that in instances like this, you don’t give up the trip you’ve been planning forever. But I also think the sentiment is still true. All of the options have something to them. Falling in love? Wonderful. Traveling the world? Amazing. Compromising a little to do both but for a shorter time or on a different route? Also could be wonderful.
I guess this is mostly just reminding people that it’s okay. That not every decision is a right path and a wrong path. Sometimes it is just a few paths and you have to make a hard decision between them.
And the girl from the beginning of the story? She went to Asia, traveled for something like four months, and then met her now-husband (who wasn’t the original guy).
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