There are some big decisions that aren’t hard at all. They come upon me quite directly with clear paths and inviting assets. They are the automatic type of tough decisions, like going to college, taking a job, etc.
Sometimes it feels like part of growing up is running into more and more of those tough decisions that aren’t automatic. For instance, each of the times I get that wanderlust itching me forward to a new city, the automatic choice is harder and harder. Do I go to Alaska? Do I go to Italy, to Toronto, to India? What about a pH.D.? Is it time yet, or should I do more industry work. Or the more recent: Do I move back to Indiana and start teaching?
On some level, I feel all important decisions have a bias in them. Nature or God has a built in suggestion, but it gets harder and harder to just choose it and be done. Still, the decisions are all singular ones. Given time, you overcome. But what happens when the problems complicate one another, though?
Do I move forward in a relationship that is good, if a bit scary, because that is the way the choice is leaning? On the one hand, it involves a lot of other good things, such as teaching, moving back where I have already made friends (and enemies), finishing my pH.D., and an assortment of other bonuses that are equally unrelated to the actual relationship. Things would change, but is it so bad? Well, my wanderlust would be hindered greatly–a problem that doesn’t seem too bad now, but can cause big issues down the line. Also, the selfish track of life takes a big hit. Perhaps the oddest conflict is the religious one, though.
I’ve basically put my seminary thoughts on pause while I’ve debated on this issue. The real complication comes from the way I ask the question: Do I give up the seminary for a relationship, or do I give up a relationship for the seminary? Each question, asked separately seems to lean towards yes. It is right to sacrifice.
I’ve been avoiding this conversation for a while as I’ve tried to figure things out on my own. Unfortunately, this decision isn’t making itself. All of the choices I’m making here are in a path to put off the choice. I choose not to rent an apartment from my boss that, while nicer than my current one, would tie me to this state for six months to a year. That choice would force my hand in others, were I to make it. So I choose to stay where I am, giving myself more time to try and choose Indiana, to talk myself into it.
Is that really the best thing for me, for her? I know the choice should be automatic, and were it not for the questions of self, nature, and God, it truly would be. I could like that life I see for myself with her. I could get past the headaches and frustrations that will accompany it. I can ground myself in a place and plant roots. The choice of standing up and saying definitively “Yes!” is the problem.
So I bend the rules as best I can. I make choices that will make the big one easier. I send e-mails and resumes around, fishing for opportunity, for invitation. And if these things provide me with a way back there, with a job and an opportunity to better myself, then one of my blocks crumbles out of the way. If I convince her that I’ll need to move around, that staying still in the same place for more than 6 years or so will crush my spirit, and if she understand and accepts this, that is another block crumbling.
There are many little choices I make because I’m not strong enough to just make the big one. I play the non-committal game because I am scared that if I choose too abruptly, or without comment, that I will regret, blame, or at worse, resent her for it. Time has been my friend in this, as is the distance of Alaska. I face these issues on my own as I need to, without interruption or distraction. I just wish things were easier.