Sunday, June 10, 2012

Wondering what if?

I am a doubter. I doubt a lot of mundane things. I doubt that I'll need a diaper because I just changed one. I doubt I'll need to grab lunch because there will be food at the party.

Most of all, I doubt myself. I doubt my past decisions constantly. I am always over-analyzing, re-examining, and most of all, questioning: "what if?" I do not make a decision unless it is so well thought-out in my brain, and many times, I think over these decisions for so long and so extensively I don't take any action at all. There was an article recently in the New York Times about the biology of risk-takers. Read that, and I am exactly the opposite of those things. I know it drives my husband crazy, and quite frankly, it drives me crazy most of the time. I look at my life 99% of the time and think I am so happy with where I am. I am smitten with my husband, my darling children, and my future PhD program. We have so much going for us... we are seemingly living the life, what, with our lack of jobs and free rent all summer. There is not a reason in the world for me to think that past decisions led to a path I was not meant for. And what does that even mean? How do we even know what we are "meant" to do? Should I be going back to school full-time in the fall? It seemed like a great idea at the time, but now I am a little terrified at the prospect of 1) failing and being incredibly silly for thinking I was smart enough to study with all of these brilliant students and professors, and 2) missing my kids so much that every day is a little bit of torture. In my rational mind, neither of these things is remotely possible as 1) I was smart enough to get in and offered a nice fellowship, and 2) I enjoy studying and I loathe staying at home all day.

I think our emphasis at Church (and quite frankly, in American society at large) of having a certain role, a kind of predestination that is set out for us is part of what drives me so crazy. God seemingly knows what we will do, when we will do it, and what will result from what we did and when. I oftentimes take my bigger decisions to Them, pleading for guidance and direction. Most often, I reflect back and think that yes, my prayers were answered and I was guided in such a way that left me and my family safe, healthy, and happy. The outcome was as good as any. Other times, we make what we thought were the right decisions, decisions that felt right in a peaceful sort of way at the time, but we end up flummoxed by the outcome.

This is a minor example*, but we bought our car in February, and thought it was a great decision at the time. We spent hours researching, test-driving, and in the end we prayed about the decision between a few really great options. We did not want to go into debt (per our Church's counsel and common-sense) so we chose a car we could pay cash for. $2000 later, plus a needed repair that will apparently cost another $1500 (though we are hopeful that a cheaper fix will work), the car we thought was right for us and we would drive forever and a day is a liability we are trying to get off our hands. Although not that big of a deal, we are going to lose quite a bit of money and are left frustrated with the process.

Bad decision, or purposeful trial? Who knows? This is the mystery of life. The frustrating, fulfilling, bewildering, exhausting mystery of this life.

Is there a rhyme and reason to it all? Answer me that, friends.

Because really, I'm ready to live life confidently. I'm so tired of worrying and questioning and doubting.

* How I will deal with a major life catastrophe, I don't know. I've never really had one. My life has been pretty freaking cupcakes and roses. Maybe that is why I'm worried about it, because I do not have any idea what tragedy or disappointment feel like.


  1. I try to remember that any problem that could be fixed with money is not a problem. Like, being a hundred thousand dollars in debt... it's stressful, but it's not tragic. Especially when we still have a job, therefore money in the bank and food on the table. I guess a real money problem would involve a bare cupboard or living in your car. Fortunately, even if we were flat broke we'd never have to go hungry because we have family, friends, and/or a church that would take care of us. Most people are not so lucky. As for second-guessing, I do that ALL THE TIME, too. Must run in the family. Try not to drive yourself crazy. If it's not all right, it's not the end, right?

  2. Don't sell yourself short, friend. You've been through some crazy hard things, and come out on top.

  3. I am so bad at thinking things through before, thats why I just buy whatever carseats you buy.

  4. I think about #1 for myself all of the time. But I am in a PhD program that I LOVE and seem to do well enough on the papers, and am actually brave enough to talk in class consistently now, so I think it is okay.

    You will be smart enough too. I promise. And the other kids? They are wondering/thinking the same thing.

  5. I think it's about balance, because to be completely the opposite would also be not a good thing. I don't think through things enough. I would rather buy the first thing i see then spend an hour doing some research... which makes for some pretty bad purchases sometimes. I don't second guess anything, which means I often settle for something less then i could have had/done if I had just put more thought into it... sigh. it's something i need to work on too, finding a balance between the two!