Full Steam Ahead

I, like many consumers, sometimes suffer from buyer’s remorse after making purchases. Maybe I didn’t really need that new shirt, and I certainly could have saved $4 on that afternoon iced coffee.

Similarly, I play the would’ve, could’ve, should’ve game when making decisions. It’s almost like a buyer’s remorse for life choices. As I’ve gotten older, I find myself busy worrying about bigger life decisions I’ve made, and what could have happened if I’d only picked something else. Did I attend the right college? Was moving to Los Angeles a smart move?

More recently, I’ve been close to worrying about another big decision: my new job change.

Yes, I finally made the leap and accepted a new position in commercial production. It’s not fancy or high-paying; in fact, it was generally a lateral move in regards to both salary and title. However, after thinking through the pros and cons, I decided this would be an excellent experience and could open many new future doors.

But to state the obvious, change is difficult. I left a job I loved with a company I loved, and knowing that it was time to move on didn’t ease the transition. As I traversed my new, 1-hour commute this past week, I found myself daydreaming about my other options. What if I had gone freelance? Would I have been good at it? What if I hadn’t left my old job? Would something better have come along, if only I’d just waited?

Then, like manna falling from the sky, I listened to an episode of the TED Radio Hour podcast about decision-making. In it, professor of philosophy Ruth Chang discussed how making choices can be difficult, but committing to a choice can ease that difficulty. As in, if you make a decision and wholeheartedly throw yourself behind it. You convince yourself this was right for you, and will work out in the long run – and you will feel better about it.

In my heart, I know that I am a sentimental fool who probably would still be working her first job (at a daycare center) if life hadn’t propelled her along to bigger and better things. In my head, I recognize that there were a myriad of reasons for choosing the career direction I did. My job now is to forge full steam ahead, to banish any shadow of a doubt about why I am where I am, and to brush aside those could’ve, would’ve, should’ves.

There’s a reason they call them “growing pains” (and I should know, I’m 5’11”). Change is daunting, especially when you feel like every move you make is weighted with expectation. Nonetheless, we must press onward, faking it until we really feel confident that our choices were right.

You can find a link to the TED Radio Hour podcast episode I listened to here.

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