This blog is late.
You wouldn't know that because the deadline was just for planning purposes. I'm sharing the detail because it was supposed to help me complete a short blog series in a timely fashion. However, following a series of curveballs and a bunch of failed attempts to write something punchy and coherent about Decisions, I decided that the writing could wait until my head was clear.
Eventually, I found clarity. My mum came through for me, as she has countless times before. However, this is not like the other times.
My mum was recently diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's. It's referred to as 'probable' because apparently, this is something that can only be diagnosed by autopsy. Anyway, the once devoted, houseproud wife, and dedicated mother is becoming a lost child, aimlessly wandering and impatiently sitting. Her body seems to know that there is stuff to do, but her mind has forgotten. I'm trying to understand what Alzheimer's is, and on the outside, it looks like Mum has just stopped making choices. As I watch her, as we sit together and talk, I notice that she no longer seems to partake in the decisions that concern what happens to her or her environment. It's unsettling because she can still do things; when guided and instructed, she has no problem taking care of herself or preparing a snack, but something has changed in that she no longer chooses to do so. It makes me wonder about the last choice she ever made. When did Mum last decide something consciously and with full conviction? It's a sad idea, but eventually, our decisions will run out.
As a topic for discussion, decisions are a rabbit hole of ideas because, as a human, I can think about what I am thinking about. This means that not only do I get to make conscious decisions about what I want and who I want to be, but I get to predict the outcome of choices. I can forecast the result of my actions. I can change my mind and re-decide ahead of time with a better result in mind. I can choose to think different thoughts, and I can use alternative language, and if I don't change something, then I have chosen it! or does it choose me? Every moment is a decision, and every decision has an impact, and now you can see why this blog was so elusive.
In my practice, I work with high functioning professionals and trainees. We work creatively and very consciously on the choices that move us towards goals that we have designed and towards the lives we want to live. It's a fundamental aspect of coaching practice to learn how to be deliberate in our decision making. However, it never ceases to amaze me how conflicted a person can become when faced with a relatively mundane set of choices. Often a person will say that they would love nothing more than to have someone make choices on their behalf. But, when we explore the absolute privilege of decision making and consider what it would mean to have that honour taken away, a different story emerges. When reminded of the finiteness of our ability to choose, Decision-apathy becomes Decision-joy.
In Decision-joy, we don't HAVE to choose; we GET to choose.
There is a savouring of options and outcomes.
There is an eagerness to look at multiple possibilities.
There is a playfulness in uncertainty.
And because it's possible to focus on the intended outcome, there is purpose and excitement.
If the next choice you made were the last one you would ever remember making, what would you want it to be?