Decisions, decisions

It was a big week for big decisions.

– I had two conversations about possible job opportunities.

– Our childcare provider, Kelly, who had been on an extended “vacation” while I determined if I was going to work again full time, got another job offer, forcing me to make a decision on the issue sooner than expected.

– We looked at a house (we’ve been looking for a different house for a few years now) and wrestled with making an offer on it.

One thing you should know about me is that I’m terrible at making decisions. If left alone, I could spend hours at the grocery store, comparing the merits of competing brands of sliced cheese. I nearly had a breakdown in the basement of Marshall Field’s trying to assemble our wedding registry. And after eight years in our house, I still haven’t put up curtains, primarily because I’ve been so overwhelmed by the options of patterns, fabrics and types of curtain rods.

Fortunately, in some ways, I’ve improved over the years (not every decision requires gnashing of teeth and rending of garments). But I still struggle with it.

So, it was convenient that last weekend I was reading Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home, in which she talks about the “Five Fateful Questions” she uses to help her make difficult choices.

  • What am I waiting for?
  • What would I do if I weren’t scared?
  • What steps would make things easier?
  • What would I do if I had all the time and money in the world?
  • If I were looking back at this decision five years from now, what will I wish I’d done?

Thinking through these questions helped keep me from getting stuck in “analysis paralysis.” I also had history on my side. One great thing about getting older is that you have a plethora of examples to look back on: examples of when you made tough decisions and, even if the outcome wasn’t ideal,  the world did not spin wildly off its axis. 

In fact, many decisions that could be considered “wrong” (e.g., moving halfway across the country for a job I ended up despising and quitting after only four months), open doors to other amazing things (living in North Carolina, which we liked enough to stay even after I quit that job, and has now been our home for almost ten years).

For me, sometimes just MAKING a decision – any decision –  is a victory in itself. 

In this case: 

– I decided to not go back to work any time soon, assuming we can swing it. It would be a stretch to say I’ve mastered the art of staying home, but I’m learning some tricks, and the scale has been tipping to more good days than bad.

– We let Kelly go. It took every altruistic bone in my body to advise her to take the job offer, but I did. Turns out the family she’ll be working for lives near us, so we will be able to have playdates! I can’t tell you what a happy surprise this was for me. When it came down to it (all that embarrassing sobbing and Plague documentary watching) think I was as sad about losing Kelly as a friend as I was about losing her as an influence on the kids. So that couldn’t have worked out better.

With God as my witness, this window will never go bare again.

– We put an offer on the house, and, after a brief bidding war (during which, behind closed doors, Pat and I spoke almost exclusively in F-bombs, and Noah declared “Everyone, Dad is going nuts!”), it was accepted. We’re under contract now, so there’s plenty of drama yet to be had, but I’m feeling pretty excited about taking that step. 

And I’ll tell you this: if we make it through the contract process, and move in to that new house, I will have curtains up by the end of the year. Hold me to it.