Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Made A Decision by: Jen Gabrielli '11

I have hated making decisions throughout my entire life. I grew up using a process of elimination to make decisions easier – and most of the time I tried to pass off the responsibility and have someone else decide for me. I wore school uniforms from preschool to high school, where my biggest decision was whether to wear a skirt or shorts. I would walk past the ice cream freezers at Baskin Robbins multiple times before I even had my top three picked out. I wish I could say I’ve completely outgrown my tendency to avoid making decisions, but even choosing which of these topics to write about involved a process of elimination and a phone consultation in order to validate my decision.  

It comes down to this: making a decision means you’re taking responsibility for something. Whether it’s deciding what to wear or where to live, you’re taking part in molding your future. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. You can thoroughly research the consequences, talk to experts, let a topic marinate in your mind for week, and still not be able to predict with absolute certainty what the outcome will be. Many times I’ve brought the best intentions to a situation only to murk it up even worse than how I found it. And other times I don’t even know I’m making a decision, yet that choice turns out to be life changing. When I’m running five minutes late and pass an accident on the road, I think about how lucky I was to be late because that totaled car could have been mine.

Eventually, by holding multiple leadership positions in high school and at USD, I stopped avoiding responsibility and started looking forward to it. I became someone others looked to for advice. So I helped tackle their decisions the way I tackled my own – made lists, talked out the possible options, and looked for the solution with the most beneficial impact. I’ve learned to prioritize decisions; for example, fighting a roommate about doing their dishes? Not a hill you want to die on. Fighting an unfair grade? That’s worth it. Instead of hating all decisions, I’ve learned how to choose which decisions to focus on and which to let go of.

You won’t always be able to know all of the consequences before they happen; sometimes things are out of your control. That’s when you have to tell yourself that you’ve made the most informed decision you could, and let that be enough. There’s power in letting go, people. By simply making a decision, I no longer have a cloud following me around, waiting for me to choose. If I’ve made the wrong decision, then I have to accept the responsibility; if I made the right one, then I get all the glory. But since I will never be able to see the future, I can only trust my instincts, hope that I’m choosing correctly, make a choice, and let go. 

“I made a decision.”

Autonomy transforms any activity from a chore to an act of destiny.

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