I love this quote from Winston Churchill.  I’ve decided to adopt it as the new tag line for my life.  (What, you’re telling me that you don’t have a tag line for your life? Get one, my friend, and share it with us all.)  I’ve chosen this particular phrase as my Guiding Light in an effort conquer the giant stumbling block I’ve never conquered in all my blue-personalitied days:  making decisions.

Are you decisive and confident, like my husband, or indecisive and neurotic, like me?  Do you make up your mind and then move forward unbridled, or do you survey everyone you know (including and especially your three faithfuls), think about it, pray about it, think about it some more, then make a hesitant, halfway decision, only to regret the path you’ve taken before you’ve even began taking it?  Have mercy, I’ve just described my own decision-making process.

I am a flounderer.  I stink at making decisions, large and small.  Derrick dreads pulling into a drive-thru with me because he knows that nothing terrifies his wife more than a screen with eighty different menu options staring her down.  The brightly-lit board sits expectant and menacing, with a powerful but hidden stranger who is waiting–along with five carloads of people behind us– for me to decide on just one thing to eat.  Don’t they understand that this is the only food I will have for the next two to three hours?  I mean really.  Where’s the fire?

Imagine my angst in grocery stores, clothing stores, and furniture stores, not to mention farmers markets, flea markets, and stock markets.  (I threw that last one in to impress.  As if.)  Imagine the terror I experienced at the tender age of twenty-five when someone put a Choosing Your Baby’s Name book in my hands for the first time.  Already reeling with loop-de-loop hormones, I’m pretty sure I closed my eyes, opened the book, and stuck my finger on a name.  I wrote it down on a little piece of paper and put it in my coat pocket so I wouldn’t forget to bring it to the hospital.  Hopefully the baby’s gender would match up with the name that I’d picked out, but if not, c’est la vie, because I wasn’t about to go through that hellish choosing process again.

Are you a Churchill or a wuss?  Now in fairness to us wusses out there: along with this wussiness comes a flexibility that allows us to work well with others and manage the unexpected pretty easily.  This is a nice trait to be sure, but it doesn’t help me choose between a chicken sandwich or a salad, a brown or black picture frame, if twelve is too young for makeup, or whether or not we should have another baby.  (My husband will be so happy I brought up that last one.)

One day, after a particularly grueling decision needed to be made regarding whether or not my children should ride the school bus, my decisive husband let me in on a little secret.  He said, “Jen, I just make a decision and figure that even if it’s the wrong decision, I can always go back and fix it later.”  Judge if you will, but I’m telling you, this was something of a revelation to me.  I had always seen decisions as so right-or-wrong, so permanent, such an unforgiving mark of my character and judgment.  But here was my Best Faithful telling me I could mess it all up, and everything would be okay.

I could order the chicken sandwich and if it was terrible, lunchtime would happen again tomorrow.  I could always swap out the black frame for the brown and tell my daughter that I’d changed my mind about eyeshadow (too bad.)   And I can enjoy the children I have and stop worrying about the ones I don’t.  It will all, somehow, work out.

So I’ve decided that from this post forward and with my three faithfuls as my witness, I will honor Mr. Churchill by choosing action over inaction, lumpy and awkward as that action may be.  When I am not sure what to do–which is about ninety-percent of the time–I will close my eyes and just do, and have faith that it will all, somehow, work out.

I will keep deciding and re-deciding how to parent my children, because what really matters is that I care enough to decide.  I will keep writing dorky things on my blog that might make me sound dumb, because sounding dumb once in a while is better than not writing anything ever.  And, like I did this morning, I will keep semi-dancing while I run down tenth avenue, especially when Shawn Mullins needs me to bust out air-drums while jamming with him on my iPod.  Because an out-of-shape mom who dances while she runs is better than an out-of-shape mom who doesn’t run at all.  At least that’s what I’ve decided.

8 thoughts on “I never worry about action, only inaction.

  1. I am right there with you. I think it drives my mom and sisters crazy. Definitely drives Mark batty too. He is much like Derrick and believes nothing is worth the kind of stress I invest in everything.

    1. @sarah, Funny, I’ve always thought of you as very calm and decisive, the opposite of me. I’m glad to hear you have a flaw. Although this is the only one, so far, I’ve been able to find…

  2. I love that quote, too. Well said! And I think you do a lot better than you give yourself credit for. If I make a bad decision I’m usually too stubborn to admit it and I ride the horse until it dies. That’s no way to live! By the way, I miss you!!

    1. @Jaimy, Miss you too! “Ride the horse until it dies…” Love it. Says it all. I envy your “stubborn” decisiveness, btw. My life would be a lot more glamorous if I ever knew what I was doing…

  3. Good work! I am a blue with a twist. I can make decisions, but I often wonder if there is some other deal or decision that would have been better which can drive a gal nuts (put two potential husbands in front of a girl like me and it’s a recipe for the insane asylum). Maturity/experience has taught me that if I make the best decision I can and go with it, it is enough. I am taking a risk, but I’m doing something rather than driving myself insane worrying about what I didn’t choose. That’s no way to live. You can make mistakes. With mistakes you learn what you did or didn’t like about a decision you make and you correct next time. Over time, you can make decisions with more ease because you’ve “been there” and know. Oh, and the other thing I tell my friends is that if you are ever feeling pressured, take five minutes (you can’t do this in the drive-through, but you can do it when your daughter asks about make-up). That way you won’t make rash decisions without some thought. You are allowed to think a little bit before you decide. I hope that makes sense. 😀

    1. @Melissa Pete, so true–I need to remember that I’m allowed a little time to “think about it” before deciding on something, esp. w/friends, social, etc–I always commit to everything before I’ve even checked my calendar, and then am Queen Flake b/c I’ve doublebooked. Love your insightful comments–thx for reading!

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