All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.Marcel Proust

All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.Marcel Proust

It has taken me forever to figure this out. Why WHY did I not know this before. Here is what I am learning: You can never know. You can never ever know 100% for sure that any decision you make is going to be the right one. It sounds simple but it really isn’t– at least to me.

I’m a list maker. I’m a weigher, a pro and conner. I’m a consulter and discusser and ponderer. Most of the time. Sometime when I have to make a decision I’m a leap of faither. This type of decision usually involves a cat though or perhaps buying something for my daughter or trying new music or a book. In those ways I fling myself out into the wild with almost not a thought.

Because why not? The outcome of a cat has only been unfortunate once–I fell in love at the shelter, brought him home to foster him and he attacked Emily when she made a realistic mewing noise. Really REALLY attacked and bit her. Strangely if it weren’t for two cats we have that don’t even like each other going after the attacking cat to get him off of Emily and me while we got out the door–at which time they rapidly left the room with us (amazing wonderful cats we have) the injury might have been much much worse. Unfortunately, no matter how I tried to spin it, I’m afraid they had to put that kitty to sleep. And I cried and we paid for another’s adoption and I still feel bad to this day, but I believe we did the right thing. The outcome of a cat–well one more furry soul to love and we have been lucky. So I try some new music and it sucks. Oh well. I’ve had my share of bad books. And maybe the Bean is a bit spoiled, but we do our best to counter act that with chores and responsibilities and expectations and she shines for us most of the time.

I guess it is because the stakes of those decisions are small.

Others the stakes are higher and as you get older it gets harder to make those decisions. Because you want to be safe, finally and you have a family you need to help, to keep safe.

It’s easier to move across the country, after weighing the pros and cons before you have the child. The decision gets harder WITH the child and even harder still once you’ve lived some place for years as a family.

It’s easy to decide to move houses when everything you have fits in a car and Uhaul. Harder when there children and pets and lots and lots of furniture.

Heck it’s even easier to get a tattoo when you are 24 than it is at 34 or 44–even when you love tattoos. Because you know better what you are doing and what it means. It makes it a better decision I think, but a longer one. It took me a year to decide on my first tattoo and get it. It was years between my third and fourth. Like 12. It won’t be that long between my fourth and fifth–but there was a decision making process involved in those twelve years. I also thought about the last one and changed my mind three times for about three years.

It’s easier to decide one day that the job you have is too this or too that or wrong or not what you wanted, when you are 25 and single–or 35 and childless. But when you have a child, even if your partner/husband/wife has a great job–it’s harder to make those changes.

Because you don’t want the disruption. Because you don’t want the drama of change. Because dammit you want to be 100% sure.

Some things are only 100% right decisions in retrospect perhaps. I was right to marry James–however it turns out 10 years down the line or 20. If we stay together or not–it was right to marry him. I was right to become the Bean’s mom. The rightest thing ever.I hope for her too. It was right to move to San Francisco. It was right to go to college and grad school (though I would get a degree in computer science if I had it to do again, I’d still go to grad school though). It was even right to move to Fayetteville–though in 20 years who knows? But at the time everything was uncertain. I made lists for all of those. I talked and pondered and cried and


And even with all the lists and the consultations and the discussions and the reasonings…does it come down to a gut feeling? Does it come down to a leap of faith?

And not making a decision is also making a decision.

And I know this –and I still have to find a way to be 100% sure even though I know I can’t?  But you are too–When you make that decision you are as close to certain as you can be. For that moment. Maybe even for a few weeks afterwards.

And then maybe you are sure  you made the wrong decision. And then a little later  maybe you are unsure about thinking you made the wrong decision.

And then you are confused and make lists and have conversations with friends you respect and take counsel and stay awake thinking and then you…. (the below picture taken from


  1. Jyllian…Are you a Libra? I am and decisions are always hard. Weighing and pondering and “Is this Right?” or “Would this be better?” Very difficult for me to decide. We are moving cross country and even though we already have a house out west, it’s difficult to get our act together. In this case, harder for Ralph than me for some reason. We’re finally to the point where we’re starting to say “we’ll keep this” but “I don’t care about that.” We may just get there yet! Life is hard.

    1. Jyllian M

      I am a libra Fran! And decisions are rough. Until I decided on what brand of peanut butter I was going to buy years ago when the Bean started eating it, I stood catatonic in front of the wall of choices (I joke, but only little).
      The moving choices of what to keep and what to let go are rough. Some obvious, many not. I wish you much good luck on that–I’ve been there!

  2. Christine

    This is SO true for me right now! I used to do the craziest things on a whim! Like move to Seattle, change jobs, change relationships. Now, all of that seems impossible. I’m living with several situations that I wish I could change, but it’s too overwhelming. What happened to the me that used to just do it??

    I guess it’s part of the life cycle somehow.

    1. Jyllian M

      I guess it is part of the life cycle Christine but I don’t know how much I like it. I guess we have to pick the things we can do on a whim more carefully now? Sometimes though, you do just have to jump into the abyss or reach for something–sometimes you just have to. Also I miss you!

      1. Christine

        I don’t like it at all, I don’t feel like “me.” When did jumping into the abyss get so scary? But yes, I’m going to have to do it, or resign myself to a much smaller life than I want. We have too much life left for that! And it passes so quickly now.

        I miss you too, and think of you frequently. 🙂

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