Life is all about decisions. Pretty much everything we do can be distilled down to a choice between “yes” or “no” and “this” or “that”. That includes small things like what we eat for lunch, what toothpaste we buy, and big things like where we want to live.
Last May, I made the decision to move to Austin in 2018. I had been living on the East Coast for almost a decade and I figured it was time to move to the South. I made this decision carefully and after much due diligence--I felt great about it. I wanted one last magical holiday season in New York, but as soon as the calendar turned, I was going to be on my way.
Everything was going to plan until about two weeks before the move. Fear and anxiety started to settle in, and I was more terrified than ever about uprooting and settling down in a new place. Not because I didn’t think I could make Austin work, but because New York was working.
Long story short, a week before the move, I cancelled my plans and decided to stick around the hustle and bustle for a while longer. The process of coming to this decision was nothing short of agonizing, but in the end I knew I made the right decision. And that’s what I want to talk about today: how to make the right decision for yourself.
LISTEN TO YOURSELF
I hate how cliché this sounds, and how seemingly obvious it is, but it’s true. Only we can inform the decisions we make. With every decision, especially big ones, there is an internal dialogue that takes place that weighs the pros and the cons. Don’t tune out this dialogue. More often than not it’s the most important part of the decision making process.
If we’re feeling uneasy about a decision, we should try to understand where that uneasiness is coming from and identify if it’s stemming from fear, or a true desire to go a different direction. Any level of second-guessing a decision warrants a closer look, and when we take that look, it’s vital we listen to what our body and mind are telling us. The right decision is usually right around the corner.
DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU, NOT WHAT’S EXPECTED OF YOU
There are times when we make a premeditated decision and tell people about it as a way of holding ourselves to it – it’s exactly what I did. If we tell enough people our plan, it’s no longer something we’re thinking about, it something we’re doing. The problem is, our desires and our reasons constantly change. At any given moment, our minds take us in a thousand different directions and all of a sudden that thing we’ve been telling people we’re “definitely doing” is no longer what we want to be doing.
The most difficult aspect of this is the feeling that we’d be going back on our word, and our word is our bond (cliché #2). But to harken back to what we spoke about earlier, we need to listen to what’s best for us, not what people are expecting us to do. People will expect things from us at every turn, but we live for ourselves, not for them.
There have now been two different times in my life where I reneged on plans to move: after college when I was supposed to move into an apartment with a buddy of mine, only to decide to move to New York a couple of weeks before our move-in date, and deciding not to move to Austin. In both of those scenarios people were expecting me to do something and I went against those expectations for the betterment of myself. Did I feel badly for potentially disappointing my friends and going against their expectations? Of course. But I felt great for doing what was best for me.
Life is hard and complicated and chaotic, and making decisions is a part of that mess. Be honest with yourself and your decisions, and don’t be afraid to second guess your choices.
Until next time – New York, New York, it’s a helluva town.