Knowing What I Want

Mary E. Nolte

Historically, I have been terrible at making decisions.

So much so that when I was trying to decide where to go to college, my mother insisted on putting a down payment on a room at the University that was my obvious choice (it was the only one I was really talking about) even though I begged her not to because somehow I thought I wasn’t sure.

I have also been that person who refuses to pick a restaurant to eat at or decide what to do with friends. I always want to do what other people want to do so that they’re happy, while completely disregarding my own happiness.

It just so happens that I found myself in the position almost three years ago of making a pretty big decision. I was shocked to find out that I had gotten into grad school, and torn about whether or not I should attend and spend quite a lot of money on tuition. I went to campus and walked around, tried to get a feel for where I was taking classes, and asked a lot of questions. I just didn’t know how I was going to decide.

And then it came to me, quite suddenly actually. I had a picture of my life in six months if I decided not to go to grad school. I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t doing anything creative, I was sitting at my desk and going home from my office job miserable. I was unhappy.

And so I enrolled.

This decision was one of the best I’ve made. I made new incredible friendships and wrote more fiction than I ever have in my life. In fact, I learned that I like writing fiction, which, incredibly, is not something that I knew before.

If I had hesitated even though I knew that going to grad school was what I wanted, I would have missed out on a lot.

I am trying to be better about decisions. Both the little ones and the big ones. Because I realize this now — if you don’t decide what you want, you’ll never be happy with what you get.

Of course, there will always be times where you don’t get what you want. In fact, it will happen all the time. But not knowing or admitting what you desire doesn’t make you immune to that feeling. In fact, it ensures that you feel it absolutely all the time.

By making decisions, both the little ones and the big ones, we are able to enjoy life better. We know what we want, for sure, and can be happy when we get it.

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