Decision Making Is a One Way Street

I’ll never forget the night I drove across the George Washington Bridge by accident.

It was 2010, and I’d just dropped some friends off at a train station in New Jersey. In a moment of distraction, I missed my turn on the unfamiliar, dark streets.

That’s how I found myself on a one-way road heading straight toward the bridge and into New York City.

Decision Making

There was no changing course or correcting the mistake. If I wanted to get home to New Jersey, I’d need to pay the $8.00 toll, cross the bridge, then get back on course.

Now, this was certainly a first-world problem. I had gas in the tank and my parents’ EZ Pass to boot. (Plus, that same toll is now $15.00, making $8.00 seem like a bargain.)

Yet I remember the strong resistance I felt to paying that toll, the “Are you KIDDING me?!” exclaimed out loud.

What Does Decision Making Really Mean?

Have you ever had an experience like that – a moment when you realized that the cost of getting where you wanted to go was much higher than you thought it would be?

Did you let a literal or metaphorical toll booth deter you, or do you take a deep breath, press the gas, and carry on?

Often we balk at the price of getting where we want to go.

But the beauty of the one-way road is that once we’re on it, we’re REALLY on it. There’s no way out but through.

Decision Making

It’s a decision in the truest sense of the word: a killing-off of all other options. I love fellow coach and author Jen Sincero’s reflection on decisions:

“So often, we pretend we’ve made a decision, when what we’ve really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable.”

How many of us back down and back away when things get uncomfortable?

When we don’t hit our goals, when we need to have a tough conversation with someone we love … do we hang in there? Or do we deflect and avoid and make illegal U-turns?

Back in 2010, I would have made a U-turn if I could. I wanted an easier way out, but there wasn’t one. So I paid the toll, drove into New York, and turned the car back around.

Decision Making Made Easy

If a decision you’ve made in good faith is causing you discomfort, it does NOT necessarily mean that it’s time to change course.

Yes, there are different types of discomfort, and sometimes wanting to leave is enough. But when you’re tempted to throw in the towel, you must be rigorously honest with yourself.

Is what you’re doing actually wrong for you … or are you just scared to move forward?

Is it truly time to back away … or is it time to deal with the discomfort head-on?

As of this writing, I’m 39 weeks pregnant. This baby is loved and long-awaited, and my husband Jonathan and I can’t wait to welcome her.

And as anyone who has been 39 weeks pregnant will tell you, it’s getting pretty uncomfortable around here.

I’m grateful for a healthy pregnancy … and I’m having trouble putting on socks. When I try to sleep, baby girl does the can-can, kicking into my rib cage well past midnight.

Then there’s the mental and emotional discomfort of uncertainty, of not knowing when the baby will arrive. As I said to Jonathan, “Not only is labor something I’ve never done before, but I don’t get to know when it’s coming!”

But the more that I think about it, the more I realize that’s a pretty good synopsis of life itself.

Life is ALWAYS handing out new things – opportunities, challenges, connections – and we never get to know exactly when they’re coming.

We like to think that we know. We like our illusion of certainty. But it’s not real. And the sooner we acknowledge that, the freer we feel.

And the sooner we make a decision – a no-going-back turn onto a given road – the more we can enjoy the journey.

Decision Making

For me, right now there’s relief in the realization that, hey look! Once again, I’m on a one way road – though this time, it’s one that I chose deliberately.

Once again, there are “pay toll” signs – first Labor and Delivery, then Parenthood – up ahead. It’s going to cost me, and in some moments I resist that.

But in wiser moments, I surrender. I remember how hard I fought to get onto this road in the first place. And I know that whatever it costs, it’s going to be worth it.

How can I trust that? How can any of us be confident in our choices? I’m not sure, but here’s what I believe …

We can trust the roads that lead us homeward.

***

What’s one area of discomfort that you need to stop avoiding?

Also, for all the parents, caregivers, and nurturers out there: What words of wisdom would you like to pass along as we prepare to welcome our new family member?

Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear from you.

Finally, I’ll be on maternity leave this summer, and will look forward to sharing new stories with you in the fall.

***

Liked this post? Receive your free Perfectionist Recovery Toolkit, featuring Getting Real & Letting Go: A Collection of Quotes for Recovering Perfectionists, the 5 Day Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Real Email Challenge, & more!

Enter Your Email

Solemn No Spam Vow: I promise never to share your email with anyone else.

20 thoughts on “Decision Making Is a One Way Street

  1. So excited for you Caroline! You of all people already know this, but always trust your heart as a mom. You know what your child needs. I read so many parenting books and listened to so many other voices. And the only parenting decisions I have ever regretted, to this day, are the decisions where I did not listen to my heart. Sending you so many blessings <3

    • Elisa, thank you so much for your words of wisdom and blessing. I’m grateful for the reminder to trust my own heart and proud of you for the ways in which you are trusting yours! <3

  2. Bette says:

    Best advice I received: Sleep when the baby sleeps. Don’t do housework, don’t cook, don’t even read — use the time to sleep, while you can.

  3. Barbara says:

    Congratulations!

    When you hold your newborn for the first time I think you will suddenly feel such a deep connection with your parents and their parents and so on… the chain of humanity is right there in your arms!
    I love the earlier advice from Elisa B. and echo it.
    Attend your crying child because kindness is never wrong.
    And oh yes… sing and hum a lot!

    • Thank you Barbara! I’m so looking forward to the moment when we meet our girl face to face. Jonathan is definitely the better singer, but I’ll give baby girl the best I’ve got. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Ball Kimberly says:

    Your insight and inquisitive mind will most likely โ€œover thinkโ€ every decision about your new little girl! I can honestly tell you that those decision moments (Pampers or Huggies? Organic or not? Whatever…) are small. Remember that she rested by your heart for so long that she already trusts you! Trust your heart… the little stuff is little. Love hard… love the time, even when itโ€™s crazy… even when you feel crazy… just love. Itโ€™s been more than enough to get her here! Youโ€™ve already paid the toll! Enjoy the bridge view. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wish you and your family all the blessings God will bring.

    • Kimberly, you totally have my number! I overthought the baby registry like you would not believe, and debated between diapers just as you describe. Thank you for putting things in perspective and bringing me back to the love that will always matter the most. <3

  5. Kimberly says:

    Iโ€™m going to the timely messages!! Hopefully you have a library with prior messages that I can access. Congratulations on your new bundle of joy…many well wishes to you and your family!!

    • I’m going to miss connecting with you too! And yes, absolutely there’s a library – go to the main page of the site (AWishComeClear.com), and go to the sidebar under Archives. (You can also use the Search function to search by topic.) Posts go all the way back to January 2011. Happy reading!

  6. Kathleen Annette LIVICK says:

    Awww, congratulations to you and your family!! God bless you for all of your posts and your site!!

  7. Susan says:

    I loved this post! I am nodding in agreement with all of the words and sentiments shared above. I would add this – have a high-backed comfortable chair or rocker that will prop you up but also allow you to relax and rest your back, head and neck during middle-of-the-night awakenings. Wishing you and Jonathan and all your family great joy as you welcome Baby Girl! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Susan, that means so much to hear, thank you! This post didn’t flow easily at first. I was putting too much pressure on myself to have it be a “perfect” last post of the season. But then I decided to let it go, even deleting the time slot from my calendar. Then that same afternoon, I had that image of crossing the bridge in my head and calmly sat down and started writing.

      In short, I’m so glad to know that it resonated with you – hearing that makes the wrestling worthwhile.

      Thank you for the super-helpful and practical suggestion about the chair – Jonathan has assembled the glider, but it needs to moved into the right room. Thanks to you, that will happen today. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Robin says:

    Caroline, I’ll pass on the best advice I received regarding labor – your body knows what to do. Stay as calm and relaxed as you can from moment to moment ๐Ÿ™‚
    Blessings to you, Jonathan and your family as you welcome your little one!

  9. Annie Scott says:

    As a doula, I love noticing metaphors between labour and life – I’m guessing you have already named the one way street of labour and I truly hope you enjoy the incredible journey it can be. personally I LOVE giving birth and have done so four times. Ecstatic hormones are available given optimal information and support… The contractions are also expansions and there are wonderful opportunities to find a satisfying rhythm with delicious rest periods in between. the transition to parenthood is HUGE. So I hope you find lots of tender compassion for yourself and plenty of resources inside and out to navigate the adjustments called for. I pray you enjoy baby moon with lots of skin to skin and falling in love with your daughter. Much love. Xx

    • Annie, I’m grateful for your wise words! They came at the perfect time, as I prepare to labor and bring this little one into the world. Thank you for reminding me of what is possible for birth – I bet you’re a wonderful doula and your clients are fortunate to work with you. <3

Comments are closed.