Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Making the right decision, or making the decision right?

Maybe Baby, Maybe Not (who is blogging through her decision on whether to have children) had a really interesting post this week, musing on a quote from (of all people) TV's Dr. Phil (McGraw):  
"Sometimes you make the right decision, and sometimes you have to make the decision right." 
(Sounds like Dr. Phil, doesn't it?)

I know that, within the childless/childfree/barren/notmom/nomo/non-parenting/choose-your-favourite-label segment of the ALI community, many of us struggle mightily over the question of whether our situation was an actual, active decision or choice. (As I often say sarcastically when discussing this subject, "Some choice...") Even if we can agree (however reluctantly) that it was a "choice" (of sorts), if only by default -- it certainly wasn't the first one, the one we really wanted.  It's not a choice that most of us embrace, at least at first. It was just the best one we could make in a bad situation with the resources (financial, mental, physical, spiritual) we could muster at that point in time.

It may not FEEL like we made a decision, let alone the right one (at first, anyway).  But, as MBMN points out, "the onus is on you to make it the right one."  ("Make it right" -- hmmmm, how did we get from Dr. Phil to Mike Holmes??)(But -- I digress...!)

Whether we actively chose this path, or felt like we had much of a choice in taking it -- or even if it was clearly the WRONG decision, in hindsight -- the point is, here we are. This is your life -- "your one wild and precious life," as a famous Mary Oliver quote puts it. What do you plan to do with it?


  1. This is an incredibly powerful reminder that "choice" is a varied thing. In some moments of our lives, we get to make choices based on many options. For others, we're choosing from a more limited pool and often when the ideal option is no longer available to us. Does it mean that we are then doomed to unhappiness? I think more often than not, the answer is no. Still, assuming that everyone has the same access to options is liminal thinking and something we all need to consider.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Making the decision right. I think that's what we're on the receiving end of when all those parents try to convince us their lives are superior, more fulfilled, and happier.

    Making the decision right for those of us who might not have even had a choice still applies. As I often say (and as you said), we do only have this life, so we need to make it the right one. That doesn't mean going off and achieving the most amazing things. It just means doing what feels right for us.

  3. I also like the idea of removing that pressure of having to feel the weight of every damn decision. I like the idea of accepting where you and honouring it, even if it wasn't your first, second, or 300th choice.

  4. You don't know me, but I found the post a year ago on the Faces of ALI series. We are in the process of potentially making this "choice", at the age of 30, mostly for financial reasons (treatment and adoption are both expensive), but also for mental health reasons.

  5. This just showed up in my reader, and I wanted to say that it couldn't be more perfect ... this was precisely how I felt about leaving my job ... that I didn't exactly have a choice, or that it wasn't my first or second or third choice, and yet, I needed to own it. To be OK with it. I am still working on that, but getting better. :)