(When I decided to ‘draw’ a post, I forgot to factor in how terrible I am at Art, but at least it means I don’t have to worry about people stealing pictures from my site)
Knowing what to do and making decisions is often a far from simple process for anybody, particularly if there are important things at stake.
I hate having to choose between things (and I’m not just talking about whether to go for number 38 – Sweet and Sour pork, or number 42 – Crispy Chilli Beef – although that dilemma is dismaying enough). It’s especially daunting when the available options vary significantly in their potential outcomes or implications, and sometimes it’s easier just to turn our backs on the decision altogether, and continue on our merry way as we were before, rather than throw caution to the wind, go with our gut and get on with it.
Other times, it’s not even just the fear that prevents us from making a decision, but a genuine yearning for each of the choices – to go to the beach and swim or go to the park and picnic? To live in the town where there’s a lot going on, or to live in the countryside where the surroundings are so green and beautiful? To travel the world or to settle down sooner with a house and family? To become a teacher or to become an astronaut? To wear pyjamas or to wear a nightgown…. etc, etc.
The problem is that all the whilst you’re trying to choose between these things and contemplating about how good each one could be you’re not actually doing any of them. You are being pulled in different directions and then like the stick-men in the rowing boat above, you remain motionless as a result – if the options you wish to pursue are polar-opposites it will be harder to make any visible progress with any of them.
Unless you make a plan. One that includes everything you want it to include, in a way which can work with a bit of forward-thinking and perhaps a bit of compromise too. It’s not impossible to pursue each option provided you manage to fit them around one another and if you think long and hard enough about it all you are bound to find a way in which you can do that. Up until around two years ago, I couldn’t for the life of me choose between Career or Travel. I didn’t want to commit to a career because I knew it would mean I couldn’t just swan off to Asia for three months again, and I didn’t want to commit to Travel because I knew it would delay me from getting my career on track. I wanted both but the problem was that whilst I wasn’t earning from a career, I couldn’t exactly afford to travel either. In essence I was doing sod-all; treading water in a small oasis in the middle of a desert. I was unhappy and felt pointless because I wasn’t doing either of the things I really wanted to and, on top of all that, I was wasting valuable time. I realised I needed to make a proper plan, so took a notepad into a coffee shop and started thinking. It was only then that I realised I could be doing both: pursuing a career and then using the salary to travel during the holidays.* It sounds so obvious now but for many months I felt I had to choose between the two, and it’s in that area of No Man’s Land in which you are most in danger of feeling pressured to pick one option over the other and completely forgetting all about the one you don’t pursue, when it could be something that really means a lot to you.
So, if you are really struggling to choose between things, particularly when it comes to working out what you want to do with your life, just remember to slow down and take the time to try and make each of the pieces of the puzzle fit together somehow. Take each of the things that are important to you and allocate the times when you will focus on them so that they can all feature in your grand plan. Wear your pyjamas in Winter and your nightgown in Summer; be an astronaut whilst you’re young and fit and a teacher when you’re older, wiser and able to tell your pupils amusing anecdotes about Space; go the beach now whilst the sun is shining and save the park for later on, when it’s cooler and you don’t plan on swimming.
There’s always a way to make things work, provided you take the time to find it. You can do everything, provided you have patience and a plan.
* – This particular decision is a rarity, I’m still, for the most part, crap at making them – but now I at least realise it doesn’t always have to be about one or the other.
Song of the Day: Dinosaur Feathers – Family Waves
I just can’t seem to get bored of listening to this song by New York indie-pop act Dinosaur Feathers. These guys are criminally under-rated, but music sounds better when it’s like that.