Sunday, January 5, 2020

choices

I once knew somebody who was faced with a significant work decision.  When I asked what he thought about the impact it would have on a loved one, he replied airily that he "was good at compartmentalizing," which I learned was code for "I'm going to do what I want, even if it negatively affects others."

I'm not good at all at compartmentalizing.  I worry that my cats miss me when I'm gone.  I overanalyze decisions.  I get buyers remorse a lot.  If someone seems mad, it bugs me for a long time.  It would be easier to be able to put things in neat compartments and not worry about them, but I can't do it.

"Australia is interested in you," the work text said.  I agonized.  It was a month-long assignment. When the first two groups went there, it would have worked.  Friends and cat sitters were available; it was the holidays.  One of my cats seemed to be doing well after her last dental surgery.  People were around and could have spent some time taking care of the cats and my house.  Nothing was going on at work.

But now, a month later, those friends weren't as available.  They had to work; some had work travel; a month commitment was too long for them, even with pay. They had their own pets to care for.  The princess cat had to return to the vet, her issue not yet fixed.  Hiring was set to begin in a couple weeks.  Leaving for 30 days didn't seem as easy anymore.

I could have gone.  Most people probably would have. It was an incredible opportunity and Australia could use the help.  I could have patched together a group of people who would come in to check the cats for a few minutes a day, hoped the kitty's medical problem didn't get worse, and tried not to care who got hired.  But in the end, I didn't go.  Someone else did.

Was this the right choice? Not financially, and not in the adventure sense.  Maybe it was a mistake, or maybe down the road in the next few weeks I'll be glad I didn't go.  I wonder what it would be like to be a person who just charged ahead, not caring about consequences.  Maybe they just pretend not to care.  

Because I can't compartmentalize, this line of thinking leads me to ponder other choices in life.  Many were wrong.  Some, while wrong at the time, led to better situations in the future.  So I guess you never can tell.  You just make the choice with the best information you have at the time, and take one of the forks in the road you are facing.  You just hope it will take you somewhere interesting.

15 comments:

  1. Complete agreement with your last paragraph, Lynn, both philosophically and personally. Some we know right away are good, or not so. Others we don't know until we can look at them in a rear-view mirror of life. Sending love to you.

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  2. I cant compartmentalizations either...I am always thinking about how it’s going to affect this and that and do this and that...the what if’s also!

    Hope the kitty’s follow up appointment goes well!

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    1. I know I overanalyze...I need to find a middle ground, maybe.

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  3. Compartmentalizing does not sound right when your colleague said it. I am about not allowing fears keep you from doing something. I do not think you are doing that though.

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    1. Nope, after 33 years of fighting fire it's not fear, more of logistical issues. I'm sure there are better ways of compartmentalizing. His view seems a bit extreme. But I'm not really capable of doing it at all!

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  4. Thinking of others while making personal decisions shows compassion. I too wouldn't forge ahead with a big life decision without consulting my family. And I'm like you, I can't compartmentalize and instead agonize over every tiny detail of a decision or interaction. Don't be hard on yourself, you made the right decision for you at this time.

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  5. Adulting decisions are so hard sometimes. I didn't appreciate all the ease of childhood back when I was in it...but making the hard choices is what you have to do now when you are a responsible person - and you are.

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    1. It is hard sometimes! My pets come before work though!

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  6. A comedian once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" Not that easy, though. Sometimes the decision is easier than the "what if" and "should I" and "if only" that comes after. If it helps any ( I'm sure it doesn't), it's genetic. You made the right decision for right here, right now, bur doesn't make it easier at the time.

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  7. Sick pets are a priority over an optional temporary work stint. If you went to Australia and your cat died because your cat sitter didn't know your cat as well as you do, could you have lived with yourself? If you could, don't get any more pets.

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    1. Luckily, what she has is not in any way life threatening, but you are right in that nobody knows my pets like I do, which is why I decided to stay home.

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