Choice involves loss, and for many people, paralysis at a crossroads is a desire to choose without losing. It’s not always easy to let go of ideas or feelings or questions or desires, and boldly pick a path. For most people there’s some fear, and a need to grapple with all the pros and cons of moving one way or another.
Commitment to anything—another person, a job, your life’s purpose, a move to a new city, a lease on a house, or a car, or a new way of being, also involves the decision to release other options, at least for a time. If you decide to commit to a romantic partner, you’re also deciding to forego explorations with anyone else. If you live in one place, you’re giving up the culture, geographical benefits, aesthetics, flavors, smells, rhythms, and personality of any other.
If you decide you have to start living your life in a different way, and you commit to that journey, you’re also saying goodbye to your old way of being, your coping mechanisms, your comfort zone, your dynamics with all the people who’ve known you forever. Choosing and changing aren’t easy because we can’t predict the future, and sometimes fear becomes overwhelming. What if we pick the wrong path? What if we commit our time and energy to something or someone, and learn down the line that it just doesn’t feel right? How will we recover, or shift gears, or handle the guilt of disappointing the people in our lives, or ourselves?
The thing is, you go with your gut, with all the information you have at hand, and with a willingness to give a thing everything you’ve got. If it turns out it’s not the right path, then you’ve learned a tremendous amount, and you change course again. It’s never too late until your final exhale, and most people don’t have it all figured out when they graduate from college. We start asking our kids at two, three, four years old what they want to be when they grow up, and we ingrain in them this pressure to know, but we’re always in process and the story is always unfolding, and if you can’t roll with it at least a little bit, you’re going to suffer.
You’ll never know if something is right unless you give it a go, and as human beings we are fallible and vulnerable and we each grapple with our own pain. Life isn’t linear, it’s everything all at once, and so are we. We’re confident and scared and happy and lonely and full of love and judgement and beauty and shame and joy and sometimes deep insecurity or self-loathing. At the very center, I really believe there’s love, and I don’t think we have much time to waste longing for a crystal ball. I think you’re better off choosing boldly, and trying with all your heart than you are agonizing and having the same conversation nine million times. Pick Paris, and if it doesn’t work out, give Positano a go. Pick Jack, and if that doesn’t work give Sally a go. Just pick something, and go for it.
Sending you love,
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