making hard decisions

Deciding to move to Haida Gwaii was a hard decision. I tossed and turned about it. I chatted with friends, colleagues and family. I made pros and cons list. I dreamt about what my life would be like if I stayed or if I went.

It was a hard decision.

There are few decisions in life that are this hard. What school to go to. What job to take. Where to live. These are hard decisions that we may be faced with in our lives.

But as Ruth Chan says in her tedtalk, hard decisions are hard for a reason. Because there isn’t a better option. Both options are good or equal overall. What’s hard is looking inside yourself and figuring out what you place more importance on.  What do you really value in your life? What choice do you want to stand behind? Who do you want to be?

When I was making the decision to move I did a KT Analysis comparing staying in Calgary and continuing to work the rewarding job I was working at vs. a new experience, in a remote part of Canada that I was curious to explore.

I had variables, and assigned weights to each.  I tried to analyze the two choices, which one was the better option? Which one, really did have more value?

And, when all this was said and done, Calgary came out on top.

But I didn’t stay.

I didn’t stay because the KT analysis wasn’t capturing something. Something I couldn’t put my finger on. Something that couldn’t be quantified with number crunching. The unknown, the curiosity, and the ability to create my own life rather than drift through defined steps and comfort zones. I even tried to quantify the value I place on new life experiences. But it wasn’t enough, it couldn’t be measured the same way.

At the time, I cursed how hard the choice was. But now, I can see that it was an opportunity. Or, as Chan says, “it is in the space of hard choices, that we have the power to create reasons for ourselves to become the people that we are. That is why hard choices are not a curse, but a God send.”

After the KT Analysis, I was still unsure of what to do.  I kept thinking and talking about it. But from these chats, there were three pieces of advice from close friends that spoke to that “something” I couldn’t put my finger on.

The first:

“listen to what your gut is saying. Your mind is telling you a bunch of different things. But your gut is only telling you one.”

The second:

“what would you regret NOT doing? If you chose one, would you always think about the other?”

And the third:

“what’s the worst that could happen? You go. You don’t like it. And you come back.”

After sitting on all these pieces of advice and thinking about what I really valued. I listened to my gut, made the hard choice, and moved to Haida Gwaii.