What’s so great about flying by the seat of your pants, anyway?

Thanks, everyone, for your helpful suggestions.  I was able to get myself moving a bit, starting in the bathroom, the smallest room in the house.  Once I got going and was feeling motivated, I was even able to do a little yoga, something I’ve been having a hard time making myself do since our crowded house became even more crowded with not one, but two bikes in the living room.  But that’s a whole other story.

I wanted to elaborate a bit on my last post.  Part of the reason I have such a hard time getting started is that I spend a lot of time planning walking around inside my own head.  Between the time my alarm clock goes off and my feet touch the floor, I lie in bed for up to 20 minutes thinking about the day ahead.  Have I decided what I’m going to wear?  How many home visits do I have?  Do I have to make phone calls or do paperwork?  How is a difficult conversation with a family going to go?  What about appointments after work?  Is Hubby going to want to watch a movie tonight?  What are we going to have for dinner?

Showers run long for the same reason.

Before I do anything, I’d prefer to think about it, run every possible scenario in my head, come up with a plan–then a plan B and C–before proceeding.  I’m definitely a think-before-you-speak/act kind of girl.  Even when I sit down to write, I’ve already thought extensively about what I want to say, how I want to say it, playing around with phrasing and word choice long before I put my fingers to the keys.  I self-edit to the point of not speaking up during a conversation because I have to think through exactly what I want to say, and usually by the time I’ve gotten it right in my head, the moment has passed.  (Which, by the way, is not limited to face-to-face conversations–it comes into play with blog commenting, too.)

Once I’ve got a plan in mind, though, it’s not easy to change it on the fly.

When we found out the sex of one of our embryos–which I didn’t want to know and happened completely by accident when we got the rest of the information from the genetic screening–it threw those plans all out of whack.  Hubby, who had always insisted we would only have girls, seemed unfazed by the knowledge that at least one of the embryos we’re planning to transfer is male.  While I, who had always said, “You don’t get to pick.  What if we have a boy?” was suddenly in free fall, struggling to get a grasp on something solid, a foothold I could use to anchor myself, to orient myself to this new reality.  All of Hubby’s plans for little girls had seeped into my psyche, too, and I wasn’t sure what to do with this new information.  I had to talk myself into a new story: We don’t know the sex of the second embryo.  That one could be a girl.  Boy-girl twins would be pretty cute….

And then I have to remind myself, just as I had reminded Hubby, “You don’t get to pick.”  There are some things I just can’t plan.  And I hate it.

Not that I’m incapable of making decisions in the moment.  I have to do it all the time at work.  Of course, these are usually decisions that don’t affect me directly, that have much more impact on the families I serve, that don’t change my plans for myself.  But they work out, and some of my best thinking comes in the spur of the moment.

And then lunch time comes…and I’m paralyzed again, facing a new, overwhelming choice I hadn’t yet planned for.  Because I spend much more time worrying and planning for the abstract than the practical.  Like cleaning my house.

The thing is, I’m an intelligent, capable person.  I don’t know why I let the trivialities of everyday life stop me in my tracks.  I don’t know why shopping for groceries has become this huge ordeal, whereas choosing our clinic or how to proceed with fertility treatments was a no-brainer.  The big decisions are easy.  I moved in with Hubby a few months after we started dating.  We got married, even though it went against our original plans of waiting until after he finished his PhD.  And now, we’re (hopefully) about to embark on parenthood.  These are the things that are going to profoundly affect the rest of my life.

But what I’m wearing to work tomorrow, or which restaurant to take my family to when they visit next month, these are the things that prevent me from getting out of bed.

I think something in my brain got screwed on backwards.

18 thoughts on “What’s so great about flying by the seat of your pants, anyway?

  1. I can relate! Since I was a kid, I’ve been teased relentlessly by my family for my indecisive eating. I generally take about 100-150% longer than the rest of them to finish my meal. And my sister swears she can SEE me thinking about which part of plate to eat from next. It’s not simply, do I want a spoonful of lentils or a piece of asparagus first. It’s more like, I think I want to have that bit of asparagus last, because it’s the tastiest bit, so I have to therefore eat which bite first? It’s debilitating!

  2. What a beautifully written post about something that’s really common ( I think…at least it is with my friends) but hard to put words to. I hope that someday soon you have a moment when you realize that you have been living outside out your head for longer than usual…and that it wasn’t even on purpose.

  3. You know, lately I’ve been having a hard time with lots of decisions, but I in the past I would definitely have called myself decisive – to a fault. I’m not sure where the shift occurred, but it has been an experience, for sure.

    • I’ve never been very decisive, and I think it’s partly because I can find a way for many options to seem equally good or bad. I can easily talk myself into or out of things based on very little fact or evidence. Hubby is exactly the opposite, so at least we balance each other (or, I’d like to think so).

  4. I’m very much the same way. And I agree that I make big decisions a lot more easily. It’s the little ones that trip me up. Which stinks because big decisions come up so rarely and little decisions are made every minute of the day.

    • Uh…that would be a Hubby decision. We had the wheels, seats, and and handlebars stolen off our bikes, so he fixed his and decided to bring it inside. Then he bought a stationary bike. So, two bikes in the living room. It’s awesome.

  5. You remind me of my husband 🙂 people think he has nothing to say, but really he just is planning what to say and then the moment passes.
    On another note, are you a social worker? I’m in school and have been most seriously considering this.

    • I’m not a social worker, but it feels like it sometimes. I work in early intervention with families of children who have or are at risk for developmental delays. It’s challenging, but most days I love it.

  6. I am much the same way, in that I tend to get easily overwhelmed by all the little detritus that comes from living, but am able to step up for the big ones. But then I tell myself, it’s the big ones that really matter. It’s kinda cool and exciting that you’re already thinking so concretely about gender, etc!

    • It is kind of cool that I have plenty of advanced notice to wrap my brain around the idea of a boy, but still get a chance for a surprise (assuming the mystery embryos survives the thaw).

  7. I can’t say “Ditto” enough times to accurately reflect how many times I nodded my head in complete understanding while reading this post. I can say that I will be borrowing your phrase, “walking around inside my own head,” but I promise to cite you. 🙂

  8. I have a really hard time making decisions, as well. But more on medium to big stuff. My husband usually has to pick where we go to eat because I can’t decide. Or he narrows it down to 2 or 3 choices for me. My mom is much worse. She has a hard time with all of it. Little, big, doesn’t matter. It’s become almost debilitating for her in the last few years (I think because she is living alone now so no one is there to make the decision for her or push her into starting something). She moved into a house that had teddy bears painted on a bedroom wall and she never could decide on paint so she just left them there the whole time she lived there.

    • My husband made me a restaurant bracket, like they–use for college basketball–to narrow down restaurant choices because it’s always an ordeal trying to choose where to go!

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