We are constantly being presented by choices, some clearer than others. Some will affect us for about five minutes, like which flavor of ice cream to get, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Others leave a lasting impact, like moving, getting married, having kids or getting a dog, or starting a new job.
Why some of these choices are easier to make than others is a great mystery at times. What is it that holds us back from moving forward? Are we afraid of something, or someone? Is it the fear of failure, or the knowledge that the direction you thought you were taking isn’t at all what you wanted in the end?
We’ll never know what will happen after making a big change in our lives. We can only imagine- it might be hard, it might make us cry a few times, it make make us immediately regret it, it might make us wish we hadn’t done it. But…we’ll also never know how good things can be, how happy we might be, or as my friend Drew says, how “wonderfully great” it might be.
The reality is this: some people are never completely happy with their situation. They always want more, always feel like something is missing. So they move from one thing to the next, new job, new friends, new home, always searching for what’s missing. But what’s missing isn’t in the new job or the new place or the new friends – it’s inside, and you have to ask yourself, what do I really want? What do I really need? How do I get there?
Those same questions are asked when your life decisions are impacted by someone else. When what you do next and what you plan for is intertwined with someone else, it’s easy to feel like neither of you are going to be completely served or that you will never get exactly what you want. So the question is: if you don’t get exactly what you want, what is the middle ground? What can you do that still works for the both of you? Sometimes the answer is scary, exciting, or full of uncertainty. But we can’t travel in time, so we don’t get to test the different scenarios for a couple of months and then go back and pick the one that works out.
The bottom line: what will make you happy not just in five minutes, or even five months, but in five years? Fifteen years? What are the things you want – and what are the effects of taking a different route than you imagined? What are you willing to do to get the things you really want?