I think the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to me is that I think too much.
At the time, it was stated as problematic – an initial assessment by a partner which would ultimately result in the demise of the relationship. He said it…and then I thought about it…and created a detailed spreadsheet which mathematically proved that he and I were not compatible. This spreadsheet was unveiled through a Friday night presentation, during which there were to be no cell phones and no interruptions.
At the conclusion of said presentation, he said I’d proved his point, and we broke up.
With the exception of this one instance, I am decision-averse. I really really hate making decisions. It’s not that I don’t care. I do care – very much. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve refused to make a decision, let someone else make said decision for me, and then been ab-fur (that’s short for “absolutely furious”…I think it works) with the end results. I still haven’t forgiven J for that time he chose the movie “Horrible Bosses” at the end of a particularly shitty work week. So stupid.
This aversion stems not from the fact that I don’t like having control of my life – the only thing I hate more than my own decisions are those that other people make for me. It’s living with the consequences of those decisions which truly marinates my anxiety.
And I don’t care about the bad consequences – those I can live with. In fact I prefer them. I would rather know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that something could have been bad for me, than live with the good thing…all the while wondering just how bad the bad thing could have been.
This also happens to be a good, solid argument for why I should stay the fuck away from hard drugs.
Don’t get me wrong – I count myself lucky to live in a place and time where so many options are available. I never understand why more women my age don’t self-identify as feminists; the right to more options is something previous generations of women have definitely fought for, and should therefore be appreciated. But this ability to choose and shape our own future is so new that we spend more time meticulously examining the decisions of those around us than we do informing our own. It’s like looking for a mirror when the reflection in the subway window is right beside you – just wipe the cherry danish off your face and move on.
But at what point does it stop being a question of “did I make the right decision?”, and more a question of “am I committed to this?”? It seems to me that the most dangerous part of a decision isn’t when you’re stopped, determining whether to proceed to the right or to the left – it’s the moment of follow-through. If you hesitate, you’ll undoubtedly be hit by oncoming traffic. If you’re careless, you’ll wind up barreling into an unsuspecting driver. And you would never expect either decision to yield immediate results – it will always take a bit more driving before your destination finally appears. If you double back, constantly questioning whether or not you’ve committed to the right direction, you’ll be stuck in an endless loop of never-really-getting-anywhere-and-eventually-running-out-of-gas.
This is probably where I should mention that I don’t drive – this was just the most accessible analogy in my mind-brain.
Of course, confidence takes time, and there’s definitely no harm in testing the waters. But there does come a time where the rubber must hit the road (the driving analogies seem to be a compulsion today). Where the time for deciding has passed, and all you can do is experience your own decision for everything that it is, and not everything that it isn’t. YES, I WOULD LIKE THE BLACK COFFEE, AND NO I WON’T FANTASIZE ABOUT THE VANILLA LATTE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN. After all, a pile of life regrets isn’t built in a day – it’s pondered over time.
Wrong turns happen, and it’s entirely possible you won’t end up where you thought you’d end up. But hey! Maybe you’ll end up somewhere even better.
Or maybe you’ll end up in some guy’s basement, begging for mercy. It’s not a science, people.