Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Soapboxing: On Making a Decision...

I'm a big fan of Sarah (of Yes and Yes fame)'s recent declaration of her ascent/descent (???) into mediocrity. She says, "Instead of trying to become awesome at things that I'm good at, I'm going to become mediocre at things I'm bad at." Personally, succumbing to mediocrity and celebrating mediocrity are two Facebook profile "likes" I created, so I identify with this relinquishment of the pursuit of expertise and perfection. I'm just okay at a lot of things and that is just okay. 

Paralyzing indecision and debilitating commitment-avoidance are intimate acquaintances of mine. During a particularly listless period of my very early twenties, my brother beat me over the head with this adage: "Not making a decision is making a decision. Not committing is still committing, only to non commitment." He will probably challenge my chosen diction, but it was something very, very close to that.

And it's true. I read an  poorly researched article once that said just the act of calling yourself something can inspire you to do that thing. People who call themselves writers are driven to write; people who call themselves runners are driven to run. And although I don't have a seamless segue here, making any decision to work towards anything leads to making other decisions. Have you ever tried to get out of a parallel parking spot in a stationary vehicle that doesn't have power steering? It's almost impossible. But turning that wheel while going 60 mph feels the same as power steering.

One day, I decided to move to Vermont. It wasn't really logical to someone observing my life at the time, but that decision set something in motion. Along the way, choices I made failed but that was okay because, often, a better opportunity arose while pursuing a certain course. I can say with confidence, that moving to Vermont—a decision I made in about fifteen minutes—led to me getting to spend a couple months in Southeast Asia, returning to Minneapolis to finish my bachelor's, which is almost complete, and ending up being paid to live in New Orleans and Tucson.

Is it a stretch to say I got to see this because I had moved to Vermont two and a half
years prior? I say not really.

Sarah asked, "Isn't there a bit of glorious, free-breathing freedom in only aiming for mediocrity and knowing that you'll be really bad for a bit?" I say yes, absolutely. And I'll add that simply making a decision and heading in that direction can bring that same glorious freedom. If you're ever feeling paralyzed, try it, and if it doesn't work, uhm... let's just blame Sarah. 


Your comments are why I get out of bed in the morning. Just kidding. But I do like them.