Thursday, January 13, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

When I was growing up, a popular line of thinking was that even a small, seemingly insignificant wrong decision could impact your entire life, essentially altering the course of your Destiny. (!) Occasionally this idea would be couched in phrases like "being in" (or out) of "God's will."


I've been thinking about this lately because a few Big Decisions are facing my little family unit.

JRM says that concept's a load of garbage. His position is that no decision is ever permanent, and that life ultimately keeps going, circles around. And it all works together for good. So long as we're all together and look out for each other.

That makes sense to logical, rational me. But I think I must've watched too many movies along the lines of Sliding Doors as a young person. Remember that one? The whole, how would my life have been different if I'd missed the train instead of caught it? Or turned left (and bumped into you) instead of right (and kept walking)?

And sitting here I can recall distinctly the words that came out of my mouth last fall at a restaurant out of town that started the chain of events that has us now grappling with this Big Decision.

I can't help thinking, "What would've happened if I'd kept my silly mouth shut?" (I was tired, and I almost did actually.)

Then what?

Would we be facing a difficult situation with zero options, or would other options have appeared?

Then I look at JRM and my little girls and where we are now, and I think of all the decisions that led us to this place. And how just one different decision on my part would've changed everything.

I do not regret any of my previous decisions. I'm simply fighting with the one that's sitting in front of us. It's probably for the best, but I'm not happy with it. It means giving up something that is incredibly dear to me.

Yesterday I went under the desk and tried to cry about it. But I must confess, I joke about doing that, but it really doesn't work for me. I start feeling silly and wonder what the heck I'm doing under the desk and my mind starts working out ways to Solve This. To Change it.

Then I came across the audio version of Paul Coelho's The Alchemist. I got it for free several years ago on iTunes. It's read by Jeremy Irons, and I remembered liking it very much. I started listening to it again, and it came to the part where the boy meets Melchizedek, who tells him about the Great Lie.

The Great Lie, according to M., is that there's a point in everyone's life where the future is all in the hands of Fate. He goes on to say more, but I realized my approach to life falls somewhere near that belief.

I can't help being a problem solver. It's just who I am. When faced with a problem, I get to work finding a solution. At the same time, I do believe our own power can only carry us so far, and after that it's in the hands of God.

Because even the best-laid plans can never take into account all the possible outcomes. And only God knows the future.

So I close my eyes softly til I become that part of the wind that we all long for sometimes...

How do you guys handle Big Decisions? By charging forward and letting the chips fall where they may, or by evaluating all the possible outcomes first? Are there ever really any "wrong" decisions, or do you think it all eventually comes out in the wash?

Until Monday, I'm musing. Have a great weekend~ <3


Jessica Bell said...

Hmm, very interesting. No, I don't think there are wrong decisions. I think we learn from everything we d in valuable ways. But I am stubborn, and if I have to make a decision about something that I'm not too fond of doing, I pretend it's not there. Have a two year old tantrum and yell, "I'm not doing it. Make me." Hmm ,yeah, big decisions are hard for me. BUT, if it's something that is going to totally flip my life around that I think I might enjoy. Hey, let's ndo it NOW!. Stop dawdling. Hurry up! My point is, I can't let the chips fall. If I don't have a say, then I'm not doing it. Full stop. :o) lol

DEZMOND said...

the main song in SLIDING DOORS was IF ONLY I COULD TURN BACK TIME by Aqua, hope you won't sing it after you reach your big decisions :)

Tracy said...

Wow, that's a good post and a great question. I always drive myself insane with trying to let out every possible outcome of the decision I'm about to make (which is IMPOSSIBLE because there are a million tiny little details that will change what happens after what happens next).

Eventually, I revert to the one thing that rarely ever leads me too far astray . . . my gut. I go with whatever decision feels right, or feels MOST right, and let the rest fall as it may.

Whatever your decision is, I'm wishing you luck that you make the one that works best for you!

C. N. Nevets said...

haha I am in just about the exact same position as Tracy. I analyze and try to figure it all out until I go insane and then I end up just going on my gut.

And, yeah, there are a few decisions that probably weren't the right ones. I try hard not to regret them, and to appreciate the things that did come along with with, but it's hard not to look be and say, "Oh crap, was that stupid."

For instance, after I finished my masters in Alaska, I had an array of options before me, including a research post in Hawaii, a PhD in Illinois, and an alternative masters in Indiana. For a variety of reasons, most importantly being near family who were going through some hard times, I chose Indiana.

I had to stop of that alternative masters program, my wife was unemployed for two years, the family things we moved back were over within a a few months, and now my wife and I are working jobs just to pay bills.

On the other hand, even if I had to stop out, I had some amazing, life-changing experiences during the year I was in that program, we made some terrific new friends, and my fiction writing has gotten back on track -- which it might not have if I were working on a PhD or a major research project.

And, on top of it, I don't really know how things would have worked out in either of the other places.

So yeah, I went with my gut, and it seems like the wrong choice in a lot of ways, but I don't regret it exactly, and I don't actually know that it was wrong.

I'm not sure any of that is helpful, but maybe it at least shows you're not alone in this stress.

Holly Hill said...

I'm a big thinker. I think everything through down to the tiniest detail.

That said, I do believe every decision impacts our life. I can chart the course of where I am now back to a single phone call that changed *everything*. But that's not to say if I hadn't gotten that call things would be better. They would just be different.

All you can do is make the best decision for you right now. The rest will work out with time. :) Best of luck.

Colene Murphy said...

Never saw Sliding Doors. But I do hope whatever you are faced with works out soon. I wont say works out for the best because I'm a firm believer in everything working out as it should.

That's how I handle things anyway.

Summer Ross said...

I usually go with my gut, and I move forward with it as far as I can. I do think events are connected. I know if I did not go to college, I would be still looking for a place to live, in and out of places, I would be working at a fast food job not making ends meet, and my hand would be in worse condition then it is. So I think everything happens for a reason we just don't always know what the reason is.

Old Kitty said...

Yay for you for getting under your desk to see what happens!!
:-) It all helps!!

Big decisions? I never listen to my head and go with what my heart tells me. :-)

And yup! Je ne regrette rien! Or some such! Take care

Matthew MacNish said...

I assume this is related to what we were discussing yesterday? I have no counsel for you. I know a sense of home and of place can be a difficult thing to let go of. I still can't let go of mine.

I miss the Cascade and Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound and the emerald green pine forests of my home, but I can't afford to live and work there, so here I am, a refugee in the south.

When it comes to big decisions I like to follow the Taoist principle known as the Wu Wei. It says that life is like a river, and if you let the current carry you along you'll do just fine. Sometimes it's hard to have faith in God, if you've had a lot of suffering in your life, but I know one thing: I'm too damn lazy to swim upstream.

Vicki Rocho said...

When all else fails, go with your gut/voice in your head. Mom always said that was God whispering to you. And you can't get better guidance than that, can ya?

N. R. Williams said...

There are definitely decisions that I wish I could undo, but in the end, each choice defines us and who we become. It doesn't make the current troubles less troubling, but hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. Life is a process.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

LTM said...

@Tracy--thanks! And I guess ultimately that's it. You go with what feels best~ :o)

@CN--LOL! Well, Alaska sounds pretty amazing, and having lived in Indiana, I know it's a great place. You're holding up the "it all comes out in the wash" argument... :D

@Summer--I think you're right. I think ultimately, what's going to happen will happen. And it will be for the best~

Thanks, guys! <3

Ella said...

I think you should write a book with similar views, the alternate universe type. Really you had me going, I want to read more. My husband is the type, that we reap what we sow. He didn't really believe in intuition stuff, but I have changed his mind, a bit. I believe in trying to do my best ,sometimes life eludes me. I have had several curve balls, I do think we only have so much control. Sometimes we just have to resign and realize it wasn't the right time. I am finding this in my life, now. Something I wanted, 25 yrs ago, may re appear. No it isn't a I wanted this path,from a young age.Just maybe I have another chance. I am feeling a bit of resistance, in my home life. I am going to march to the beat of my drum. I have marched to the beat of many others. I CHOSE, to march to their tune, it was the right fit, then. xXx *555

Unknown said...

I don't believe in fate so I choose my choice wisely. I think that my decisions do impact my life and the lives of those in my family. But, that's my opinion only.

I hope you find the answers you're looking for.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

You can't know every outcome of your decisions ... because you're not God. He knows, but he's not saying. Why? Because it's your job to choose, to show your character through action (yes, you're a character in God's story. Just sayin'... :)). And since you can't know every outcome, you can only know the things that you know, and base your decision on that (weighing your heart as well as your rational options). Then make the decision and go forth and don't look back over your shoulder. Know that you will make it be the best decision that you can. Only then will you discover all the amazing things that are waiting on that path for you.

I'll keep you and your family in my prayers while you decide!

Charmaine Clancy said...

When changes are thrust upon me I go with them now (I used to fight) - I feel like it will turn out lucky that way (no previous evidence supports this theory).
But when I must actually decide - I'm a mess. I way up all the pros and cons and make lists after lists and then still totter between decision and worry that I've chosen the wrong one - and that's just when I'm picking a movie for the family to watch.
I don't envy your decision making process and agree it would be great if a good cry could wash the worry away. But I do think as long as you have the most important things in your life it will all be good (or at least a step towards good).

Ella said...

I wanted to say, I have a hard time with decision and responded to quickly. I just watch the movie, "Flipped" and thought of you. The back n' forth. Leigh, write a pro and con list and go with your gut!
Intuition is powerful~ xXx
Thinking of you~

Joanna St. James said...

I am the one who always picks the dumb choice but either ways it all works out in the end. I can guarantee that cos am living proof

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, Leigh, you need a little Buddhist reading...

I ADORE The Alchemist--completely and totally. I give that book as a gift when people are going through hard times because it is so peaceful in the conclusion. And the LESSON of it, is VERY Buddhist... no matter what decisions you make, be true, go with your heart, and even if you follow some really wonky paths for a while, chances are you will need the LESSONS from those paths when you get back to where you are meant to be.

JRM is RIGHT that done things can be undone, if it is really that awful. But they are undone with greater knowledge from which to go forward. (Though I am dying to know what this 'decision is'...)

I personally am a dive in then scramble girl. I have an awful lot of faith that things will just work out, and you know... eventually they do.

Talli Roland said...

First of all, I'm thinking of you and sending you lots of positive decision making vibes! I'm like you - I'm a problem solver. I like to think our future is in our hands, and we can work our way out of anything we may have got ourselves into.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I look at all sides of the equation, make up my mind and stick to it. My husband on the otherhand, keeps going back and forth until it drives us crazy:) Needless to say, I don't like being in a state of limbo about a big decision for very long. It's almost worse than any of the possible outcomes!

Unknown said...

I admit I tend to feel silly about "crying under the desk" too. I'm not generally an emotional person, so when I actually do cry, I'm usually so distracted by the fact that I'm crying that I forget why I'm crying. :p Sorry to hear you're undergoing stress right now, and I hope it all works out beautifully in the end.

Unknown said...

Ah, Fate. What agents seem to hate most as a plot device and yet, I still wrote a book about it. That's how I roll, I guess.

I should probably be careful with what I say from this point on, but...

I think we all just have to do what we can and forge our own paths. If fate was really part of our lives we wouldn't have access to free will.

So you, in your totally awesome under-the-desk fort that I'd love to have a slumber party in one day, cheer up! You have written amazing things. You have created two beautiful little girls. You manage school websites like they're nobody's business. And gosh darn it, people like you.

Carolyn Abiad said...

OK, Sliding Doors, the Alchemist...all love, love, love for those. Leigh under the table, making stressful, possibly life-changing decisions? Not so much love for that idea. I hope it all works out...and you know I'm curious about "it".

LTM said...

@KM--LOL! You sound like me. Want to feel bad, but how is *crying* about it helping??? :D Thank you for your well wishes, and I will definitely keep you posted~ :o) <3

Jennie Bailey said...

In my younger days, I simply jumped and hoped like heck there was ground at the bottom. It ALWAYS worked out. 99.9% of the time for the better. As I've gotten older, though, I'm way more cautious. I don't take decisions lightly. I think I've done worse with this. I hesitate too long now and doors close. I wish that I could just jump like I used to. Things turned out much better then. I want to be FEARLESS again.

Lisa Galek said...

I think there are probably a few big decisions we make in life that alter our entire future. I guess I don't really believe in fate, so it's hard to know if things will work out okay no matter what we chose.

Good luck with your big decision!

Ex-pat Odessa said...

Well, you know what the Monty Python boys always say, right? "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition".

I think as women, we always try to see the possible outcomes before making a big decision, especially when we have children, since our decisions ultimately effect their lives.

DL Hammons said...

I'm a analyzer and don't believe in living big decisions to fate. The only bad decision is the one that wasn't properly considered before making.

That's just the way I roll (and rock). :)