Choosing Change

Change is hard. Even when we know a change is for the best. Whether that change is the best for life for goals, for loved ones, for ourselves (or for all of the above)… The best change is still tough.

I am excited for the change that lies ahead of me. But I am also scared that it may end up being something different than what I thought it would be. What will I think about this change 6 months from now? Will I regret this change a year from today?

I once read in a psychology textbook that people with fewer options available usually end up happier and more content with their final choices as compared to  those who have a multitude of options from which to choose. I believe we eloquently call the phenomenon the “Paradox of Choice.” But why do more choices tend to make us less happy? Less content? Less at peace? Of course, we don’t know exactly why. But I would venture to guess this phenomenon occurs because with fewer options, we have fewer ideas of what our outcomes “could be:” fewer available idealized images to compare to what our outcomes actually end up being in the real world. Frankly, with fewer options, we have fewer “what ifs” to play through our mind and alternatives to imagine being better than our actual experiences. But this is all—of course—just my guessing.

So with this knowledge, I feel ashamed to even write about my internal struggle over choices. I am agonizing over the opportunity to have different, positive work-life outcomes. Despite how hard the last few years have been and how much I have struggled, I have somehow gotten to a position with choices, options, and career opportunities which could all be good. It is a blessing to have so many doors unlocked. So much of a blessing. And I know this.

But that blessing does sometimes feel a little like a curse in the midst of the change that surrounds a hard decision. Especially when that decision will guide so much of your future self.

I believe I made the right decision. I am hopeful for the future. But as blessed as I know I am at this moment, it is still hard to change, to walk away from something that has been the center of my life, 40-60 hours per week for the last several years. It feels unsettling to hand off something I have quite literally clawed at, fought for, pushed up, and kept going one day at a time… for such a long time. These last few years have been a bit of a blur. They have been so centered on work. As healthy as it might be to move away… it is still hard to distance myself from what has become an ever changing, ever stressful, constant.

It’s frightening to move away. But I am also so excited for a different future. OUR different future; rather than just mine. So thankful for the opportunity to build the future we want…. But there is still melancholy for the past struggles and triumphs. There is still apprehension for the unknown future.

I don’t know how all this will play out. Truth be told, I might have been just as happy with an alternative decision as with the one I made. But it is also true I may not have been as content or as free to build the life my husband and I envision. Whether I would have been or less happy, I will never know.

But I do know this: the decision has been made and I am confident in my choice. I believe I made this decision for the right reasons. And I am so excited for a future that is bigger than what the past has been. Choices are hard. But we make the best ones we can—and hope. We just do our best as we see how the choices play out. We experience where the changes take us. And the mere act of making our decisions helps us grow. Whether I will be more or less happy 12 months from now or 12 years from now I don’t know. But I am thankful for the opportunity to make decisions and experience their unique endings.

–Written by Sandy Heights

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