Now, this sentence is not for use in life-and-death situations. If you’re hanging off the edge of a hot-air balloon and you’re not sure whether you should try to swing your leg up and plop yourself back into the basket (that is, if you don’t plummet to the ground) or keep on hanging on by your fingertips in hopes that your napping buddy might hear your cries and pull you back in—do not use this sentence. This sentence applies only to non-fatal situations, because this sentence is: Most decisions can be undone. The power of these five words should not be underestimated. First off, if you’re making the decision, say, between two elementary schools for your child (the challenging hardcore neighborhood one versus the loving but totally disorganized charter) and you realize as you are choosing “Hey if we pick the wrong school, we can always go back to the other school,” then you’re not going to be as tense and hysterical about the process.
But this is not enough, because you will then say, “What if we can’t go back to other school? What if all the slots fill up?” And right then, you will be at fear, and you already have a rule about that. So, how else can you undo this decision if you can’t go back to your previous alternative choice? Is there another school? Can you move to a better district? Can you get your child a scholarship to someplace private that you might not have considered?
There is a way to undo it. There is always a way, and once you understand that, you’re not going harass parents whom you don’t know by the entrance of both schools, begging them to tell you what to do. You’re not going to shake your husband awake in the middle of night—asking him to read the brochures one more time.
The truth is, you will never know if a decision is a good or bad one until you actually commit to a choice. In so many ways, the idea of making a decision is an illusion. It makes you feel as if you’ve done something, when in fact, the real action—and answer—is in the deciding.
At times, absolutely, undoing the choice maybe painful. After two short weeks of living in Florida, you may move back home and have to buy your old house back at a horrible loss or rent a creepy, moldy temporary apartment. It may be hard, really hard, and it may cost you. Or it may just be slightly embarrassing. For example, should you go into the principal’s office and politely decline his offer of a seat for your son, only to exit the office, stand in the hall and experience prickles up and down and all over your body as a small dark voice says “No!” —then charge into the office once again and take it all back and say, “Please, please let my son go to your wonderful challenging nearby hardcore school! I will run the book fair with you! I will be the class parent!” (Okay, I admit it, this "you" is me).
Or it may be that after your cut off your hair, choose your new money man or move to Florida, you may just feel at peace for the first time in your life. You won’t know until you commit all the way, and that’s what decisions are for, to usher us into the possibilities of life—and allow us to move into the disorientation of the change at a slightly different pace, with slightly less fear and a bit more perspective. The choice of of approach each one as it comes up, thankfully, is yours.
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