The grass was a shade of green I’d never seen before. Somewhere between mint and turquoise. The sun was just peaking through the Irish cloud cover and the soft dew was beginning to dry up. I didn’t know what time it was but it also didn’t matter. My family was vacationing at a friend's house on a tiny tidal island off the west coast of Ireland. Think the scenery from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince near that cave filled with weird zombie things.
Luckily for me, on this early morning hike, I encountered no zombies. Just endless rabbits. I walked out into the middle of the island where a small freshwater lake gleamed. Around me were hundreds of rabbits digging holes and jumping to and fro. I sat in the grass and picked a few wildflowers. I was just finishing my time studying abroad in London, had just come to terms with my lesbian-ness, and felt very lost.
I was about to graduate college with an art degree from a state school. No real idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to help people but how? And through what job? I got up and started to walk but quickly stopped. I didn’t know which way to go. Paralyzed, I looked down the two paths before me: one toward the ocean, then other further inland. As an angsty teen coming to terms with my impending adulthood, I couldn’t make a choice. What if there was something inland that I would miss by heading toward the water? What if I got a job that wasn’t right for me? What if I came out to my family and they didn’t like it? Or what if they really liked it and became super embarrassingly involved in PFLAG or something?
Right at that moment of over thinking, a black and white dog ran perpendicular to both paths. As I found out later, his name was Rex and he belonged to the only year round island inhabitant. He ran all around in front of me clearly chasing a rabbit. This surprising appearance broke me out of whatever funk I was in. I realized that of course I’d miss something if I choose either path. But why choose a path at all?
I confidently set out through the grass between the two paths. Rex and I followed rabbits and dug holes for the whole day. I found ruins and crabs by the ocean. Befriended a donkey and waded out into the lake.
Did I miss things on the journey? Of course. Did that mean I didn’t enjoy it? No! I had an amazing time. Through this experience I learned for the first time that every life decision I was going to make would be right for me and therefore the best decision. Thinking that there was an overarching CORRECT CHOICE had paralyzed me into indecision. Freeing myself to choose based on that moment and what felt right was the best life change I could have ever made.
Do I make mistakes? Oh yes. But do I see and learn amazing things after each decision? Oh yes. I hope you can shake the paralysis of indecision and move forward on whatever path/non-path you choose.
Elizabeth Terry is the COO of Sassy Pants. Her job is to make decisions and take action. She's passionate about helping people and making sure everything goes smoothly. She's excited about Sassy Pant's mission to help women move forward toward whatever goal they have. Follow her on Twitter!