We make decisions about ourselves harder than it has to be.
So it’s official!
At this EXACT moment in time, my husband and I no longer have any children living at home.
My youngest son moved out this past Monday with two of his friends from high school. Actually now that I think about it, he’s known those two since junior high school.
It was the easiest move that I have ever done in my life!
I didn’t have to pack, sort, or trash anything. I didn’t have to organize or put anything away at his apartment. By the time I had finished cleaning his new room, you know dusting and sanitizing EVERYTHING, all of the furniture and boxes had been moved in for all of the boys. Yes that is what I still call them, boys. My son and his friends may technically be young adults but if you have a son, you will understand why I’m calling them boys.
Easiest move EVER!
I was on moderately intensive cleaning duty since my back was still iffy and I was taking no chances to reinjure it by lifting anything remotely heavy.
We had, let’s see, eight other people to help unload everything so it took less than an hour. My husband and I went to return the moving truck and by the time we got back, the boys were ready for us to leave.
They were going to handle unpacking and assembling their bed frames later, after they went to pick up their parking passes at City Hall. Where they are living only has on-street parking that allows you to park for just one hour at a time. They were panicking to get their parking passes before City Hall closed at 5 PM.
And yes they got it all done.
And just like that, we went from three in the house to two.
So just like that, two hours later and three, became two.
We still have Delilah our English yellow labrador, but she’s easy to take care of compared to our children.
My son texted me late that night asking where a few items were, like his comforter cover and sheets, to which I responded that he left them in the dryer. I then waited a full 24 hours before checking in with him and sent him a text. He called me on FaceTime and showed me around his room.
I could see it on his face that he’s so friggin’ excited but I could also see that he’s worried and stressed too. You know, too much newness, his job doesn’t start for a week, and he’s had to spend more of his money that he had saved up in preparation for the move.
I listened, asked questions, and then supported and reminded him that he made a decision that he really, really wanted; to move out of the house and be independent. He needed to give it some time and that it will get better.
Is it hard to make decisions because they're only about you and that makes you uncomfortable?
And that’s what today’s episode is all about, making decisions in midlife and why we make it so hard to do so.
I got the idea for this episode from a client of mine. She was having difficulty making a decision on what she wanted to do regarding starting a business. She had too many ideas, according to her, and just couldn’t make a decision about which one to select.
I asked her, “Do you think it’s hard because all along you’ve made decisions that have been for others and now that you have to start making decisions for just yourself you’re terrified?”
She thought about it for a minute and then agreed. It’s easy to make decisions, right, when it involves your children but then when it comes to make a decision that involves just us, we become stuck, frozen, and unable to move in any direction.
Here are some examples of women questioning a decision she wants to decide.
Some of the questions and comments around making decisions that I’ve heard from women include:
- Should I stay in my current home or downsize? But what happens when the kids visit and there’s no room? What if I don’t like it?
- I want to start my own business but I don’t know how. I have too many ideas and I don’t want to make the wrong choice and waste time.
- I’m unhappy with my spouse and think we should get divorced or at least go to counseling.
- I don’t know if I should change jobs or not. I hate where I’m working but what if a new job is worse than what I already have?
- I’m unhappy with the way my body looks and I know I should eat healthier and workout but I don’t know what to do.
'Shoulds' are what we have been told to be or how to act.
Did you hear a common word being used with almost all of those examples?
The use of the word ‘should:’ should I stay in my current home, should I get divorced, should I change jobs, should I eat better.
Shoulds come from outside of you.
Shoulds are what we have been told to be or how to act. I should be nice to everyone. I should eat a salad instead of cookies.
Shoulds come with a lot of guilt and shame.
Shoulds make you second guess yourself and WHAT YOU WANT.
Women have been ingrained and programmed to keep others happy.
You’ve been making decisions that involve other people for years: your spouse, your children, your extended family, and even your friends.
You make those decisions with little effort because you usually sacrifice something that you want in the process.
But you brush it off since it’s for the greater good of your family and you accept it.
Women have been ingrained and programmed to keep others happy.
You make decisions for YOU, not for others.
And now that you have to make decisions that only may involve you, you’re paralyzed into inaction when the ‘shoulds' come out of nowhere.
It’s hard to make decisions since you will make waves, and those waves will affect others.
Let’s take the example of eating better and getting involved with exercise. Your reasons to do both of those things may include wanting to reduce your weight, to have more energy, maybe get off some medication that the doctor has prescribed for you, or to ensure you live longer to enjoy your grandchildren.
Whatever your reasons are, they better be for YOU; For YOU and NOT for anyone else.
You're going to make waves with your decision so get ready!
What waves may be created that impact others in your life if you make the decision to eat healthier and exercise?
- Maybe because you do all the cooking that your spouse is going to grumble and be unsupportive when new foods come into the house. Or more importantly when old foods are tossed out and not purchased from the grocery store.
- Maybe because you are going to exercise after work, your spouse will have to get his own food for dinner or fix dinner for the both of you.
- Maybe when you start to lose weight and there’s that one friend that begins to notice and say supposedly positive comments that leave you wondering whether or not you should keep her as a friend. (That says WAY more about her jealousy of you and how it makes her feel than it does about you.)
- Maybe you ask your mother who’s now offended that you asked her to please not make you a birthday cake since you’re healthy eating is going so well. She then ignores your request, makes the cake, and in turn you feel guilty if you don’t finish the whole cake over the next few days since she went to all that trouble.
- Or maybe you decide to get up early to go to a yoga class which means you’re not going to be there in the morning to help whomever is still in your house get out of the house on time.
How big or small to you want your waves to be?
So when you’re agonizing over making a decision just know that you will make waves, soft ones that gently graze and large waves that may knock you and others over due to their impact.
You know those waves are going to happen so when they do, don’t act so surprised.
Say to yourself, “Ahhhh, there it is!”
My advice for you - TRUST YOURSELF.
Here is my biggest piece of advice for you to hear from this episode:
Trust yourself and listen to what you want, not the ‘shoulds’ that others will tell you.
Trust yourself that you have choices, every single day.
Trust yourself that you know what’s best for you.
A woman in a group I’m in said, “A decision is not a life sentence.”
You make a decision based on the information that you have at the time. That means, that if you receive new information, you can adjust, change, or rip up the decision you made and make a new one.
It’s not a failure to make a new decision.
Be willing to accept what happens once you make a decision and own it.
When you trust yourself each time you make a decision then you will know it’s the right decision.
I’ll talk to you later Beautiful!