Decisions: Making The Big Ones
2017 has been a game changer.
Something in the air felt different when the New Year rang in (and it wasn’t just because my boyfriend is ah-mazing).
Compared to a few years ago, when my brain was much less developed, my decision-making muscle has been getting stronger. In 2017 alone, the amount of “big decisions” that have come my way has been challenging, yet exciting.
For the first time in my life, I feel confident about the decisions I am making, as opposed to insecure about the decisions I was ignoring.
The Three Biggest Decisions of My Life
2017 has been a big one. It has given birth to the three biggest decisions I have ever made in my life.
Decision #1: Move to Costa Rica.
Decision #2: Buy a house.
Decision #3: Dedicate my professional life to being a writer.
I suppose, I made the decision to live in Costa Rica and buy a house in 2016. But the end result of these life-changing pacts came in just the past few months.
I have lived in another country, away from my hometown for the first time for more than a few weeks. Nik and I finished saving our money to buy a house, a goal we have been working towards since 2015. I am enrolled at USF St. Petersburg to pursue my English degree. This is the first time I have seriously considered going to college since I bailed on my FSU scholarship in 2010.
Unlike a lot of past decisions in my life, I am looking on each of these with extreme fondness. I want to explore what it has felt like to make each decision, and how trusting of my intuition I have been. It hasn’t always been this easy, and I don’t expect it to always be. But man am I proud to be here.
What It Feels Like to Make Each Decision
It’s possible that you can relate to this feeling.
Imagine you are faced with a huge decision that could potentially alter the path your life is on. You push down the fear that instinctively boils up within you. You tell yourself you need to, “Think on it.” Days go by, and you feel more distant from the decision. You let a week, then two weeks, and then a month go by. At this point, you push down any thoughts that come up about the decision. You act as if it never happened.
In the past (especially in that awkward time between moving out of my parents house and...right now), my insecurities around making decisions would drive me to procrastinate until it didn’t matter anymore. Following some waffling and indecisiveness, I would allow the choice to pass my by.
For example, after being out of high school for a year or two, I felt that “it’s time” to college. I can’t recall the exact pressure I felt to go back, but it was probably internal. Yet, it was incomplete. I applied for SPC, enrolled in a class or two, and I even went to them a few times. But ultimately, my history at SPC is filled with W after W.
What I am trying to say is that, in the past, I did not make decisions with a feeling of empowerment. I made decisions out of fear, or out of lack, or out of doubt.
Most commonly, my decisions resulted in the decision to not make a decision. Which, I now understand, is still a decision.
What I feel now is a sense of overwhelming joy and very little doubt, especially when it came to these three big ones. Maybe it’s the power of trusting my gut, which leads me to...
Trusting My Intuition
This is a tricky subject for me. I’ve always been a girl of fact, of “seeing before believing.” However, I have never felt aligned with that way of thinking. Although it never felt right, I always tried to force it. In the past few years, I have learned to embrace intuition. I have learned that my sensitive psyche can be used to my benefit, and not just for wearing my heart on my sleeve.
Yet, lately, I am met with some opposition to this way of thinking. I am met with sneers about naivety. But is it naive to believe in yourself? I think not. It’s brave to be optimistic about your life, and courageous to trust your instinct.
I trusted my gut when I suggested to Nik that we live abroad after our lease expires. He loved the idea. Our families were, while supportive, very concerned. Cautious. Hesitant.
I have trusted my gut to embark on an enormous financial and emotional journey with Nik - buying a house. We’re in this together, without an engagement ring or a baby to justify it in traditional terms.
I trusted my gut when it occurred to me that I have always loved to write. That I will always love to write. And that it is the passion that I want to pursue seriously. I trusted my gut when, for the first time, I felt excited about going to college. Instead of explaining all the reasons college is unnecessary and unimportant, I applied, and celebrated afterward. Maybe a college degree isn’t what everyone needs, but it is what I need.
When your decisions don’t necessarily align with others’ needs, wants, expectations, or the status quo, you might be met with friction.
I am working past that as we speak, dispelling notions of naivety and ignoring the naysayers.
Going against my instincts has never gotten me into good situations. I ignored my intuition in my last relationship, justifying all the reasons I should be with the guy, forgetting to acknowledge the fact that nothing about it felt right. Doing this led to me acting out of sheer unhappiness in some awful, unforgivable ways.
But it’s all so clear to me now.
Decisions, especially the big ones, feel different to many people. This is what it has felt like to make the big ones, for me:
Decision-making is like a muscle. You need to exercise it to make it stronger. And the stronger it is, the more empowered you will feel on your life’s path.
How does it feel when you make big decisions? What are the biggest decisions you have made in 2017?