As a kid, the biggest decision you can make is what color shirt to wear to school, or who you want to play with that day at recess. Now as an adult, I realize that I was never really “formally” prepared to make an adult decision.
I thought about making an important move over for months, procrastinating my decision as long as I possibly could. One day, driven by anger and disappointment, I said “yes” and decided to do it. Frustrated that I got to this point, I went full force towards making this thing happen.
Within days, I started seeing the benefits of moving forward with this decision. At the moment, I got scared. I couldn’t believe how quickly things began to happen. With this mild shock, I decided to keep going. I began putting some pieces together, and then it happened. I got to the point where I had to make another adult decision, except this time, I didn’t have months to procrastinate over it; I had days.
Right at that second, I couldn’t believe that it actually happened. I began to feel my heart race. I couldn’t catch my breath. I sat in disbelief for a second before getting up to walk back to my chair. I sat back down, heart still racing and slightly suffocating, in pure shock. I felt my eyes well up. I needed to cry right now. I got back up, trying to take a discreet deep breath, so I could take a moment to cry. I had a panic attack.
I sat there crying as if someone died, feeling my heart wanting to both leap out of my chest and out through my throat. I needed to relax and really digest what was happening, and figure out how I was going to make this decision without running out of air in the process.
I went back to my chair and immediately told my sister what was going on. “You had a panic attack,” she tells me. I knew that, but I was still in disbelief. I chatted out what just happened with her to try to get me back to normal, and it worked for the meantime.
Still feeling overwhelmed, I was able to stretch my decision making for a full week. It sat in the back of my mind for the next few days. The burden of saying either “yes” or “no” grew larger every day. I felt like it physically manifested atop my shoulders, as I actually felt them feel heavier as the days went on. It was official: I was stressed. Usually, I’m one of the people who has trouble realizing stress levels until it’s too late. I don’t like pointing out when something has clearly overwhelmed me, but I passed that threshold fairly quickly. I had to figure out how to make this decision, and I needed to do it fast as my deadline was quickly approaching.
The first thing I did was crowdsource. I spoke to anyone who would listen (well, almost everyone) for a piece of advice. I got a lot of different perspectives, which made this even harder. I sat down and tried to figure out the pros/cons. I channeled my feelings about this and tried to get in tune to see what I unknowingly wanted to do. I gripped with it until minutes before I had to decide. I watched my phone ring.
Five minutes later, I felt my shoulders lighten. I sighed with relief after I hung up. It was done. I took a second to think, as I looked out the window of a 26th floor. “Now I know what to expect,” I thought to myself; this will better prepare me for what was to come.
I moved forward, and continued putting pieces together. At this point, I was ready for the puzzle to be completed. While I felt prepared to potentially repeat that episode again, I also wanted it to be over. I thought it would get easier as I went on, but man was I wrong.
Part two rolled around several days later. This time, the burden was slightly lighter. I could handle it. I thought about it for a full weekend before finalizing my decision. I cried and aired out all of my fears for a few days before deciding, ultimately relying on positivity to push me towards finishing the puzzle. I was happy with what I decided.
I thought the burden was ready to come off, until I realized the hardest part was yet to come.
Now, I am gripping with moving onto the next phase in my career and my life. It hasn’t been easy in the slightest, especially when you expect certain people to be helpful or supportive in the transition. It has gotten harder every single day, and it’s making me want to rethink my decision. I can’t tell you the times I’ve cried since then. I even almost cried twice during a date just because I was overwhelmed with thinking about the days ahead.
As I figure out how I’m going to successfully get through these next few days and make it to the next chapter, I thought about everything that helped me get here:
A trusting group of friends. Everyone needs a solid support system. I’m lucky to have a diverse group I can lean on when I need a handful of different opinions. I know they see my worth and have my best interests at heart, so I trust their judgement. This is the foundation for me in helping me do adult shit like this, and everyone should have something like it.
Channel your feelings. For me, this is pretty much some crying but it’s also about how did I felt in certain situations. I’ve learned to trust my gut more because my body usually knows what’s up before I consciously do; listen more often if you don’t already.
Talk your fears out. This goes with channeling your feelings as I cried while I did this, but this was integral to helping me move forward. It takes a lot to admit that something scares you, and the ability to do that will better prepare you to overcome those fears (unless you’re afraid of escalators like me, then no).
Twirl on them haters. Listen, at every step of the way, someone will want to rain on your success parade. In the magical words of Beyoncé: twirl on them haters. Don’t let their words and actions stop you from doing you. This I am still actively working on, but I’m getting closer and closer to twirling on them every day.
Remember that you’re doing this for you. I tend to forget this nugget of knowledge all the time. The reality of the situation is that you shouldn’t care how your decision will affect the next person. They’re not going to be living what you decide, you are. This goes back to twirling on them haters. Someone out there is gonna wanna make you feel like shit for wanting to do the things you want to do, and it’ll go to the back of your mind and make you want to rethink your whole life. Don’t let them because this is for you. As I continue to actively remember that this is about me and for me, the sooner I can get my twirl on and prosper. Shit’s hard but I promise it’ll be worth it. I can’t wait until I can come out with my head held high from not giving a single fuck; that moment will be magical.
These past two months have taught me a lot about myself and those around me. People I thought would be supportive weren’t, and others were openly there to help celebrate with me. It also taught me that I somehow figured out a few ways to help myself navigate through adulthood. It hasn’t been the easiest road but all things worth doing should be challenging.