As we get older, we find ourselves facing harder and harder decisions.
The sticky situations at work, the heart-rending relationships, the search for a place to live and person to be. It can definitely feel overwhelming at times. We’re here to remind you of some of the tried and true methods to make sense of the madness.
For the list makers at heart, weighing out the pros and cons can certainly help ease the stress of an important decision. If you’re a visual person, write them down so you can physically lay out the good and the bad in front of you. Categorizing can be tough and frustrating, so keep in mind that some pros can also be cons and vice versa. Just because you’re making a list doesn’t mean you can’t acknowledge the grey area.
Then there are the times when logic, reasoning and rules just don’t matter. At all. There are certain situations in which your heart and your body will know to do long before your brain can catch up. Recognize that it’s okay to trust yourself, that sometimes you have to. There’s something to be said for animal instinct, and at the end of the day, that’s all we are.
Have a tendency to die hard. Aside from pros, cons and instincts, it’s also important to factor in our history. While it’s hard sometimes to step back far enough to gain perspective, it’s important to try. It’s important to see patterns as they emerge and think critically about how similar decisions have affected us in the past.
We don’t need to be alone in our decision-making process. It can be really productive to solicit help from our friends and family in whatever capacity makes sense—maybe someone you know can relate and offer advice, or maybe you just need a sounding board. Whatever the case may be, don’t be afraid to ask, to lean, to let others in. We all get by with a little help from our friends.
Ultimately, each decision we make will be specific to the moment—to what’s happening, to who we are at the time and to what has gone down in the past. There’s no formula or answer key to get us through, but that’s okay. It’s actually a pretty cool thing. We have the agency to make decisions and the responsibility to own them in all their consequences, good or bad.