It’s weird to look back at how your worldview looked when you were young.
While we had the typical arguments, I got along with my parents most of the time when I was a teenager. Still, I had all of these notions about how great certain aspects of life would be when I was an adult, out on my own.
I can hardly imagine any of it was too profound; the usual adolescent stuff I suppose. I looked forward to coming and going without asking permission, eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted — but most of all, I looked forward to making my own decisions. I liked the idea of not having to consult my parents whenever I wanted — or didn’t want — to do something.
Funny how things change.
If I could talk to my 17-year-old self right now, I might just slap him upside the head for thinking this was a “perk” of adulthood. (I mean, it still is in some aspects, but the bigger decisions are particularly difficult to make when they’re yours and yours alone.) Sure, I wouldn’t want to have to ask my parents what I can or can’t cook for dinner tonight, but there are some times when I wish I could just get them to decide for me.
Twice in the past week, I found myself calling my mom and beginning the conversation with “So, what should I do about….?” Each time, the question was met with the same answer. “I’m not going to tell you what to do.” Man! This used to be so easy.
I’ve never been a fan of making decisions. I remember nights in college when a friend or roommate and I would make plans to go out for dinner. Oftentimes, this led to a half-hour or so of us driving aimlessly around Mankato asking each other where we wanted to go. Finally, one of us would blurt out a place that nobody had any strong objections to and that’s where we’d go.
Through the years, I’ve gotten a little better at planning and decision-making, but at the time I was rarely the one to suggest where we went. The fate of how well other people enjoyed their meal would be in my hands. That’s way too much pressure.
When it comes to making big decisions, I’m still like that. I’ve said in earlier blog posts that I believe most of the decisions we make — no matter how big or small — are 50/50. The thing is, when the decision is an actual, important, adult situation, my negative, cynical side tends to sneak through. Most of the time, this means I’m thinking about the bad outcomes not only for me, but how the choice will affect the people I care about.
I hate — perhaps more than anything else — the feeling that I’ve disappointed or hurt someone I love. Sometimes, it’s really difficult for me to put my own needs or wants ahead of just the possibility I might negatively impact someone else.
As we grow older and better figure out how to adult properly, you’d think this would get easier. It doesn’t. But, going back to an earlier point, what I have learned is that all of the decisions we make in life are half-chance. It’s the same way for everyone else.