Deciding to Decide

Recently, I met some former youth leaders to catch up and have a mini-reunion. I haven’t had the time to meet them in the past year due to my own transitions, both personal and professional.

It was a light and fun; we reminisced their experiences from the work that we did, and listened to the stories of their own journeys. In a span of a couple of years, from their college graduations to being young professionals and graduate students, they made a lot of decisions for themselves.

I was consoled with their own stories of discernment, how they took the time to carefully assess their options, and how they tried to grasp the ever-changing landscape of their experiences, even at their youth.

One youth leader’s story particularly struck me. He recently resigned from his job a month ago and was now doing freelance work. The former job was stable and he loved it. Furthermore, the job allowed him to do other things that he loved.

Yet, after all the perks, he felt that he needed to move on to grow, even though he wasn’t sure if there are other jobs out there that would accommodate such similar leeway.

I asked him how come he decided so soon when he could have afforded to wait for another year before leaving.

He said that it was a more rational decision to wait it out until his contract with his company expired. He would have had the time to discern more if the proper move was to extend his contract or move on.

It was safe to stay put. But for his case, it was more freeing to resign now and take chances.

Looking Down Off a Cliff

The decision making process is a slow and tedious process – especially, when these are big life transitions – choosing a partner, getting married, settling in a new country, taking on a new career and the like. It takes time, a lot of weighing on the pros and cons, consultations from important people, reflections on future scenarios and possible consequences, and for others, a lot of prayer.

Yet, for some cases, the process may not be that linear and contemplation may be done on the go. Even when there’s no guarantee, the situation may call us for a deep dive into the wilderness of ambivalence immediately, ask us to go with the flow, and trust that at the end of the day, everything will settle and fall into place.

Either way, discernment, may it be a short and quick resolution making or a contiguous and complex exercise, should be able to help us make a choice – and not hide us from the fact of making one.

Sometimes, it’s good to take time to gather courage, discern properly and weigh all the options before deciding.

However, sometimes, it’s also good to go with guts and take that leap of faith. Deciding to decide may free us from our own unfreedoms of discomfort, uncertainty and self-doubt, which hinder us from grabbing new opportunities, exploring the world, and re-discovering ourselves.

Uno Morato Bookstore Bar, Quezon City, the Philippines | 16 May 2015

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