Thursday, January 11, 2018

Decisions...by LeAnne Bristow

I've never been one to make New Year resolutions. The few times I have, they haven't lasted very long and then I feel guilty because I couldn't do it. I've also never been one of those people who pick a word for the year. Mostly because I come up with a whole bunch of words and can't decide which word to go with. 

I have a hard time making decisions. Blame it on the fact that I'm a Libra and have to look at both sides of every situation multiple times before I do anything. Blame it on the face that I hate conflict and want to make everyone happy. I spend a lot of time justifying my inability to decide things. I even googled it and found a name for it to help myself feel better about it. Decidophobia.

(www.rrrather.com)

Sometimes my "disorder" is helpful. I'm really good at playing devil's advocate for other's who are trying to make a decision. My ability to see both sides of any situation helps make their decision more clear. But in my own life, it causes chaos most of the time. 

My critique partners will be the first ones to agree that my decision making ability (or lack thereof) affects my writing. I come up with ideas for a character and can't decide which one to go with. Should my hero by a firefighter? a policeman? a farmer? One decision can change the way the rest of the story plays out. I usually have so many rabbit trails that I end up with enough fodder for five books and never get the first one done. Which way should I go?

 
However, there is hope. Because on the flip side of my complete fear of making a decision, is a very thick streak of stubbornness. My husband would completely disagree about my inability to make decisions because he knows from experience that once I have finally made a decision, NOTHING gets in my way or changes my mind. (This is also a problem, but more on that at another time.) I just need a LOT of help getting to that point.

So I have DECIDED that 2018 will be my year for decisions. For the past decade, I've toyed with the idea of being a writer. But I've let my inability to make tough decision get in the way of allowing me to truly pursue my dreams. 

The first thing on my list of hard decisions to make is I had to had to decide what I really wanted to do. Where was my true passion? Where do I see myself in five years? Two years ago, I emailed my friend Tina to tell her the news that I had gotten "the call." Harlequin Heartwarming wanted to buy my book. I was beyond thrilled. The first thing she said to me was: That's great. But now you have some decisions to make. You teach school full time. You run a gymnastics business after school. You are running a contest for your writing chapter. And you babysit all weekend for your granddaughter. You're a real writer now, with REAL deadlines and real responsibilities. Something has to go. 

Although I completely agreed with her, I couldn't let everything go. The contest only lasted a few months, so I did make the decision not to do it again the following year. I was pretty proud of myself for that. But my school NEEDED me. The dozens of little girls who came to my gym every day NEEDED me. There's nothing else in our little town for them to do. My daughter NEEDED me to babysit. My list of reasons to continue juggling all my responsibilities was endless. I did it once. I sold a book. I can be superwoman and do everything, right?





WRONG. When you stretch yourself too thin, there's not enough of you to go around and everything falls apart. There are some things that I can't quit, obviously. Teaching school is not something I can give up. Family is my number one priority, so giving up weekends with my granddaughter was not something I was willing to give up, either. However, I do ask my daughter to find an alternative babysitter so I can attend writing chapter meetings or have a deadline that I need to finish. 

The lease on the building I use for my gymnastics business is up at the end of March. When my landlord changed the terms of the lease I had a decision to make. I could no longer lease the small portion of the building. Instead, he was offering only the larger section of the building (at a much higher rate). Right now my business is better than it's been in months. I could expand and really watch the program I built grow or I needed to move to a new building. But that would take a lot more of my time and a lot more of my energy. 

So the first hard decision I've made in 2018 is to close my business. I would be lying if I didn't tell you that my heart is broken a little. I love my girls. I love seeing girls, that couldn't do a cartwheel when they came to me, doing back flips all over the place. I love hearing their stories every week and watching them practice until they accomplish a skill. But I've instilled a love of tumbling in these girls and I know that someone will step up to continue what I've started. It's time for me to let it go.

What about you? Is there something you need to let go in 2018? Tell me about a time when you've had a tough decision to make?




21 comments:

  1. Ah LeAnne, I’m sending you a big hug because that must have been a very hard, painful decision. I have a feeling you’ll be called on to help out again with future gymnasts in some way and you’ve instilled something wonderful in all those children. Although I’m not a Libra, occasionally I have a hard time making decisions, especially when shopping for clothes. These days hard decisions arise with my writing career - am I up for the challenge and the disappointments? But you were definitely on the right track keeping family as a priority!

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    1. Thanks Janice. One of the things I haven't had to make hard decision about has been my writing career. Mostly because all the other things have gotten in the way of the writing, but I want that to change this year.

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  2. Great post, LeAnne. As I tell my girls, there is no right or wrong, it's just a decision (except for family, of course). A couple years ago I decided to weigh decisions in terms of health or writing. If the activity didn't promote one or the other, then I should let it go. And that's worked out pretty well. Good luck!

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    1. I love that idea! This year I'm going to let my priorities dictate all my decisions.

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  3. LeAnne, it's so easy to tell how you swing in the wind and feel terrible for making the decision to close your gym. I hope it will feel right to you when you get your current book written. You have a lot on your plate, and you have set good priorities. You have time to write when your granddaughter doesn't need you, but that time lost would be lost forever. Just hang in. Your writing won't leave you, and neither will we.

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    1. Hi Roz! Honestly, my husband played a big role in helping me make the decision. He asked me if the time I would have to spend at the gym (to make the additional money needed for the higher rent) worth the time I would miss with my granddaughter. When I looked at it that way, it wasn't a choice at all. Then I realized I needed to give my writing the same priority and BOOM decision made.

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  4. I know how hard it must be for you to give up the school. I wish you all the best, hon, and can't wait to read your next book :)

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    1. Thanks Cathy! Hopefully with less on my plate, I'll get it finished, lol.

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  5. I know how much you loved your gymnastics program. You glow when you talk about it. I'm a Libra, too, and stretched way too thin. I think I'll follow your lead.

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    1. Thank you, Pamela! Since much of my decision was spurred by one of our conversations, I'm honored that you would consider following my lead. :)

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  6. LeeAnne, what a difficult decision to leave those little girls! I can't imagine making that decision and not to spend time with your granddaughter. That's not Decidophobia, that's crisis time, if you ask me. I do know one thing, that when we follow our heart, it does all work out for the best. I wish the very best with everything. And those little girls will never, ever forget you!!! What a treasure you are in their lives.

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    1. Thanks Catherine! The decision did not come without lots of prayers and tears. I'm still holding out that someone else in the community will step up and fill my place.

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  7. Interesting...also a Libra here, but I'm not sure I have Decidophobia. I tend to get tired of weighing pros and cons and pick an option to get it over with!

    I do have a big decision to make this year. Are we going to take a 12 month sabbatical in the fall, wind up our businesses, and sail the boat south? My husband is so gung ho on this, it's more a matter of do I have a strong reason to say no?

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    1. As one who "went south" on a boat (years ago and for several years) I say grab the chance--there's something wonderful about that kind of cruising and it's not like anything else. I don't regret a minute of living aboard a sailboat with my family--way back when.

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    2. Hi Kim,funny how us Libra's share many of the same tendencies! I have to admit that my husband played a huge role in my own decision. Good luck with yours, but a sabbatical sounds amazing. Can I go with you????

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  8. What a tough choice, LeAnne. It must have been hard to move on from the gymnastics school, but these empty spaces do tend to be filled, and perhaps someone else will step up to do the same kind of teaching you did. Much needs to be done, true enough, but we don't always have to be the one to do it. And only you can write your books.

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    1. Best thing I've heard all day, Virginia! Thanks! I needed that.

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  9. Wow. LeAnne, you've been going through some tough stuff. I'm really proud of you for making a decision. I struggle with that myself sometimes. People always say to follow your and trust your instincts, but what if (like me) those things have led you astray in the past? But then I think, maybe they didn't lead me astray. Maybe that's how things were supposed to go... Is there a name for over-thinking everything? I'm going to make one up: overanalyzitis. That's what I have.

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  10. I swear, there are so many of us in this same place, aren't there? I'm still vacillating on what to give up. Good for you for deciding, although I feel your pain in letting it go. This was a great post.

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  11. Libra here, too, so I understand about weighing all sides of a decision. My husband often says the hardest decisions are between two good options, because it's so hard to give up something good. I think you made the right choice for you. Good luck.

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