For the month of May, my writing prompts will be taken from this website. Today’s is: “Do you make decisions quickly or slowly?”
In my day to day world, as a teacher, I make a million decisions at lightning speed all day every day, so in some regards I make decisions really fast. Those decisions are one that I have to make, but decisions that I need to make about things that may cause lifelong consequences, there isn’t really a speed at which I make them.
For example, the decision to ask my wife to marry me took forever. I kept shuttling back and forth between every possible ramification of asking her. Would she say no? Would she say yes? Would her kids think it was foolish? Would they be angry? How should I ask her? Why get married when it wasn’t legal? Would her family be supportive? On and on my brain raged and anguished over the decision, until I finally decided that I would, in fact, propose to her.
The decision to quit my PhD was an important decision I made pretty quickly. I knew I wasn’t progressing forward anymore on my dissertation, because I was working so hard teaching middle school and high school, and though it was said to me that I could put off my teaching commitments in order to successfully complete my dissertation, I knew I could not. Teaching is my greatest joy—grading not so much—and I knew that it would be unethical to be a subpar teacher in order to complete a degree that I ultimately wouldn’t use. So I quit.
Other decisions take a moderate amount of time, like deciding to trade in my Jetta for my van turned camper. I knew I wanted to be able to camp safely anywhere I needed to go, so I weighed and measured and looked for the perfect small van that would fit the things I needed to camp comfortably. Once I found the Nissan NV that would become Maude the Minivan, I made the plunge. In all, that decision took about two months to make.
A friend of mine and I talk a lot about people who make decisions like different brewing techniques for coffee: the espresso decision maker who takes a very small amount of time and is good under pressure, the drip coffee or percolator decision maker who sort of lets things ruminate for a bit and then decides in small increments eventually completing the decision once all of the pieces are in place, and the French press decision maker who mixes everything together and thinks about it for a good long while then applies some pressure and decides. I can be all three of those in any given situation, and I am not sure which I think is best, or if there is one that’s best.