If you are like everyone else on the planet right now, you have a great pile of decisions to make. Should I go to the grocery store? Should I travel for the holidays? Do we send our kids to school or home school? Should I stock up on toilet paper again?
These choices are definitely very pertinent and personal questions for our time. The amount of advice, opinions, and examples streaming in from everywhere makes one dizzy and, as soon as you have a choice made, another point of view is added to the pile. And your decision is blurry again.
We are in the time of the Magic 8 Ball.
Do you remember that precious toy? I personally never had one (mean parents) but I loved to play with my friends’. As an overwhelmingly curious child, I ask it all sorts of questions…will I be rich? Will I marry (add in my latest heart throb or school crush)? Will I travel the world?
Then shake, shake, shake….
It was certain I would be rich. My marriage outlooks were a bit hazy so I was encouraged to try later. My travel plans were very doubtful. So I’d wait a little bit and ask again. It was that simple…ask and shake, ask and shake, ask and shake until I liked the answer.
Answers just felt easier then….of course I was 8 years old and I wasn’t in the throws of a world-wide pandemic.
How are we to decide with the questions before us?
First, know thyself—a quote famously attributed to Plato, an amazing thinker. How do you make decisions? Do you go with the crowd or make your own trails? Do you lead with your heart or your head? Emily P. Freeman, one of my favorite bloggers and podcasts, has a quick quiz to reveal such inner knowledge at: https://emilypfreeman.com/quiz/.
I’m a gut-feeler. If it feels right, I throw everything to the wind and do it. With or without the crowd. Many friends in my circle are logic lovers. Pouring over the numbers and reading all the information is how they decide the most likely outcome. Neither is right or wrong…it just helps you to know what kind of information to get. All the numbers in the world would not make me feel comfortable in a difficult situation…but if I take time to really tune into how I feel about it, I’m more clear about my next steps.
You can handle the truth.
Second, look for the options. Make a list of all the options that are available to you, even the silly and outlandish ones. Private tutor for the kids…sure! Full-time live-in nanny…why not? Get 4 more dogs…write it all down! List your best and worst scenarios.
With them listed before you, start going over them and weighing every option. Cross out the ideas that aren’t feasible and circle the ones that are possible. Walk away. After a rest, start again.
Investigate from reliable sources to gather more information. I’m talking reliable, not your neighbor, your Facebook buddy, or a paid ad. Look for real information. Look for primary, first-hand information. Make phone calls and ask a lot of questions.
If you can’t manage all the voices around you, learn to manage those talking heads in a blog I wrote in October 2019. It’s linked here: https://thewespot.com/mind-your-gurus-how-to-manage-all-those-voices-we-follow/
Take a breath and celebrate.
Third, when you have whittled down your list, make the conclusion for you. Period. Do not make the choice for your parents, your in-laws, or your neighbor. Each person/family has unique circumstances and situations that one has to deal with. Our own stuff is all we can really deal with. If you get kick back from others, look for support from others.
As unique individuals, this pandemic has certainly affected each of us in completely different ways. I have found resiliency and creativity in life choices heart-warming.
New reality, new choices, new resiliency.
If there is an upside to our current world conditions, I have seen the beauty of others being awakened to their own possibilities. Hard choices and hard decision-making skills bring closer relationships, more gratitude, and more community-involvement. I have found who my people are and who they are not. Clarity and confidence is a strength I hope all people walking through these times gain.
Remember you may not make the right decision for your friend or neighbor, but you can make the right choice for you now. However, the beauty about decisions is that you can always make a u-turn and go a different way when you see one didn’t meet your needs.
Have courage to be one who embraces uncertainty and comes out stronger.