The Audacity of Choice

Posted on 3 min read

Making decisions is one of the most looming challenges in my life.

It’s not that I don’t know what I want, it’s that the audacity of actually deserving the choice that I REALLY want, feels out of reach. Who am I to get the thing I most want? What makes me worthy of it? These are the questions swirling in my head when it’s time to make a decision. Do I choose the most sensible or hold out for the dream?

Every choice comes with an intense fear it will invariably be the wrong move.

I’m haunted by the image of myself standing in the hot sun, in the middle of a dirt country road, surrounded by grass, and like a blues singer with a guitar strapped to my back, as if in a dream sequence of a movie, I’m looking down two roads, forked in different directions, feeling paralyzed.

Careening from the smallest daily decisions, like what to eat, wondering if it’s healthy or will it be the thing that gives me cancer and kills me, to how much should I be spending or should I be spending on this excessive thing at all? To the life-altering decisions that present themselves less regularly, but have the punch to change the course of my life for years — there’s no going back on some decisions.

My strategy is to poll my friends and family — to the point that I think they will one day avoid my calls.

My therapy sessions, which I only schedule in the most extreme moments of indecision — I’m not so flush I can get therapy on the regular — are usually focused on trying to figure out what move to make next.

I read self-help books and watch anything Oprah posts on her Facebook page, and although I can give advice to others better than the best of them, even at the ripe old age of… I still don’t trust my own advice to myself.

I’ve made HUGE life decisions in the last seven years, from divorce to cross-country moves, new jobs and new relationships, and honestly looking back, although I don’t regret any of them, every choice felt like life or death for me.

When it comes to my work all I have are my instincts and the skills I’ve learned from a few generous editors, but somehow the ability to rely on those same skills when it comes to my own life, I inevitably come up short.

Fast forward to today. Gripped with fear, I push forward into my next chapter, understanding there will unfailingly be more options to choose from, and I will have only myself to call on.

One of my favorite quotes is by Nelson Mandela, “May your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears.” I hope I will be able to embrace this idea, and not let my fears and insecurities rule my life decisions. I have to trust that I deserve to be happy and that I’m worthy of living the life I want, the life of my dreams.