After being stuck in the house for seven months, we made an effort to go to the coast on the weekend with a couple of friends. Even that little break from the monotonous routine was enough to clear my head and have a new perspective on old problems.
I forever seem to be faced with one dilemma or another. A perpetual loop of the famous Shakespearean conundrum “to be, or not to be.” It keeps taking different forms. To do this or that. To continue with this or to start something new. To follow the routine or to be spontaneous. The questions appear mammothal in the four walls of the house, but as soon as you get out in the open, they become trivial and futile.
But the best advice to make decisions came from Oliver Burkeman’s last column for The Guardian:
When stumped by a life choice, choose “enlargement” over happiness. I’m indebted to the Jungian therapist James Hollis for the insight that major personal decisions should be made not by asking, “Will this make me happy?”, but “Will this choice enlarge me or diminish me?” We’re terrible at predicting what will make us happy: the question swiftly gets bogged down in our narrow preferences for security and control. But the enlargement question elicits a deeper, intuitive response. You tend to just know whether, say, leaving or remaining in a relationship or a job, though it might bring short-term comfort, would mean cheating yourself of growth. (Relatedly, don’t worry about burning bridges: irreversible decisions tend to be more satisfying, because now there’s only one direction to travel – forward into whatever choice you made.)Oliver Burkeman in The eight secrets to fairly fulfilled life
I wish I had known this a few years ago. It would have saved a lot of agonies. Not that I have chosen happiness over enlargement in the past, but I would have had the framework and that would have made the decision-making process less painful.