Life’s possibilities and making hard decisions

I get my inspiration from rainy, late night drives. Sometimes I get it from having a few too many drinks. Sometimes, it just hits me out of nowhere. But I’m almost always never in a good place to record it or write it down when it strikes, and then it flees from my mind and becomes a lost memory.

And I’ve had quite a few of those moments of wisdom and captivating thoughts in the last week or two. Have you ever started saying something and didn’t realize it was true until it was done being said? Or have learned something about yourself as you describe the innerworkings of your mind before the person listening to your description even gets a chance to chime in? Sometimes, things don’t feel real until you acknowledge them. I’ve had my share of that. I am constantly buying tickets to and riding several trains of thought simultaneously that they sometimes slip through the cracks. It is only when I am forced to verbally piece them together that I can realize they have been there the whole time.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. I probably wouldn’t have. I would have confused myself and clicked off. But thanks for stickin’ around.

I kinda just want to talk about some of the things that have been heavy on my heart and mind lately. And the lack of things too. Before they escape my mind again.

There was a Sunday morning about two weeks ago. It was a really pretty day, but I woke up feeling sick and with a thought just heavy and lingering in my mind on repeat. It was a beautiful thought, so I let it stick around. It was, “You should live a life that you are happy with,” and with that thought I felt feelings and images of all sorts of outdoor vacations and memories made with friends and lovers and family. How simple? Just live a life that you want. We tend to overcomplicate that with ideas of “how do I get there” and “what should I be doing” and we put so much stake in the decisions we make that sometimes we never make any at all. I’m notorious for that.

Part of me thinks that thought came from a place of being fed up and sick of waiting for my life to begin. It’s something I have to pull myself out of every time I fall into it. Life is happening whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. So just start fucking doing the things you want to do. What are you waiting for? I ask myself that question and I treat it like its rhetorical and beneath me to answer, but it’s one I have to force myself to respond to. Because once I do, I realize there is nothing to wait on.

I once saw this social media post that has resonated with me ever since. I’m paraphrasing, but it said that we are always one decision away from living a totally different life and that is both so comforting and so terrifying. I love that so much and how honest it is. It really puts things into perspective. Like, I could just wake up tomorrow and say fuck it, I’m moving to Madrid. And I could start arranging all the details and just do it. It’s well within my power, and holding that kind of power is kind of scary for me so I try to forget that I do sometimes.

I have a natural proclivity toward playing a passive role in my life. This is something I was telling a friend the other day when we went out for drinks. He was driving me home when I bluntly stated, “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.” We had a laugh, but this was enough to set me down a path of existentialism. I was trying to recall the last time I made a big, life-altering decision or spontaneous move. (This is where all that stuff about speaking things and realizing how true they are once they’re said comes in.) As I was talking about this, I realized. I get too comfortable. I have a fear of change that dates back to my childhood. Not like I am mortified of it, but if I have the option, I tend to stay put where I am because it takes less emotional and mental effort to endure being uncomfortable in a new situation. I take the backseat in my own life and lean toward being a passive rather than active participant in making the decisions that will shape my journey. I will mold around the circumstances rather than mold my circumstances to me.

And this isn’t just a “change is scary” thing. It’s a combination of a few things. I am so naturally indecisive. More than most people. I overthink so much, and in doing so, I try to see the big picture and imagine every possible scenario and understand each one thoroughly in an effort to make the best decision, but I get so caught up that it becomes difficult to settle on something. I see it as both a good and a bad thing. It’s critical thinking without a conclusion. It’s like writing a persuasive essay from every possible angle and agreeing with all of them.

I also just like living in the possibility of it all. What I mean by that is, before you settle on a choice, that sweet spot in time right before you reach a decision, everything is possible. I love that. I’m a firm believer in romanticizing your life. But for example, take deciding where you’re going to live. Your options could be big city vibes in New York, a small Midwestern farm town, LA beach babe, etc. Before you make the decision, you have the potential to be all three of those things. I love the “what if” of it all. The dreaming of doing it all. Living in and being fixated on “the potential”. But once you settle on working and living in NYC. That’s it. The other doors close and you better be happy with what you pick and hope it’s the right decision.

I know what you’re thinking, “Uh, Jessica, that’s not ‘living in the possibility’, that’s fear of commitment.” Maybe it’s both? I’m just enamored with having my options open and exhausting all my fantasies. And it can’t really be a fear of commitment if nothing is truly a commitment. Like, you can always wake up each day and change the course of your life. That’s something I’ve been trying to learn to. But it’s also the fact that, with each passing day, we’re losing time. I could wake up in my NYC apartment ten years from now and decide that this is not it, and always move back home. But I will have lost those ten years and regret not having spent them elsewhere. I think it’s the regret that scares me and that’s what causes me to apply pressure on myself to make “the right choice” that keeps me from making any choice at all.

So here I am, stagnant, writing you this blog post on a Thursday night, thinking to myself that I will continue my love affair of dreaming of possibilities. But I think I will start acting on some of them too. The cost of not doing so is far too high.

-Jessica

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