The Freedom of Being Locked In

I just did something today I don’t think I’ve ever done.  I scheduled an appointment a year out. 

“Really?!?  How is that even possible?”

That’s the old me, in case you are wondering.  She’s thinking I’m nuts to commit to something a year away when I don’t even know for sure when we’re leaving for this year’s summer vacation.  (It’s somewhere between July 24th and July 29th, Old Jen, if you must know)

Old Jen was always afraid to commit to anything in case something else came up.  Part of that was her lifelong fear of missing out on something amazing.  But the other side was her devastating fear of making a wrong decision.  

But here’s the reality: The pain of not deciding is worse than the pain of having to change an appointment if you need to.  

Far worse.

Because when you can’t decide, you feel helpless.  When you can’t commit, you feel lost. When you refuse to choose, you become untethered.

Do your remember that scene in every space movie you’ve ever seen, where the main character goes outside the space ship and accidentally gets unhooked from the craft?  

That’s what happens when you cannot commit.  Inertia takes hold and you no are no longer in charge.

Committing to something creates a kind of gravity.  It holds us to something and gives us parameters. It gives us a tether.  

I know in this day and age it feels like there are too many choices.  Or worse, it feels like all the choices are bad ones.  But when you refuse to choose, you are basically unhooking yourself from your craft. And as every science fiction fan knows, that is always a bad thing.

Making a choice is like starting a painting.  The longer you stand and stare at the white canvas the more intimidating it becomes.  But as soon as you throw some paint up there, you have something to work around.  You might like that decision you just made and expand on it. You may decide you abhor that choice and have to figure out a way to work around it.  But either way, the painting has begun.

So back to scheduling.

For those of us who have a hard time making decisions, making appointments can be heart-rending.  Nailing ourselves down to a date or set of dates feels like we are trapping ourselves.  

What if something happens? What if I can’t make it?  What if something comes up? 

But the reality is, no date is set in stone.  And throwing a date on a calendar suddenly gives me something to work around.  “Alright. I know I’m going to be at Camp GLP in August, so any other August commitments have to work around that.  I know I have jury duty in December, so any other December commitments have to take that into account.”

Isn’t it crazy that locking myself in actually frees me up?

It’s the same with any decision isn’t it?

You make a decision and all other decisions then flow from or around that.  Some doors open, others close, but because of deciding, flow happens.  

It’s when you DON’T decide that things get stuck.  

What decisions have you been avoiding?  What decisions feel too big or scary to handle alone? Are you ready to get unstuck? 

That’s what I’m here for.  

What decisions have been pivotal in your life?  What commitments freed you up to pursue something new?

Please share your deciding stories in the comments below!