Wednesday, February 13, 2013

on a yes or a no.

there's a quote from sex and the city that has stuck with me for years. years. miranda, pregnant, is about to get an abortion. that last minute before she's about to make the decision, that last minute before choosing option a over option b, before changing her life forever, she turns to carrie. and in desperation, anxiety and fear, she says:
"carrie - is this my baby?"
and what can carrie say? when it comes to the big decisions, we can offer our friends advice, we can listen to them, we can help write the pros and cons list, but we can't make the decisions. and we can't tell them, without a shadow of a doubt, what they should do.
what can carrie say?
***
my favorite decision to make was what to do after college. strange, i guess, but hear me out. i know it may feel nerve-wracking and big and it takes deep sighs to make that decision, but i was ready to move on from philadelphia. the old anywhere but here mentality. and that mentality, it gives you a lot of freedom. a lot of breathing room. so i went on interviews for opportunities that took me all around and finally decided on a job in baton rouge. a week later i got into graduate school in nashville, my first choice, tore up the job offer letter i had just signed and went to nashville instead. and it all seemed so easy. i got my job offer in december, i got into graduate school in december, and just like that my future was decided on my winter break.
it's quite easy to decide the next step when you don't have to act on the decision for six months. that's the part i liked. that's why it's my favorite. it felt so much easier. so less immediate than the other decisions i've made.
so when i got into my car a few days after graduation, packed up, knowing what came next - all of a sudden heading off to a strange town where i knew no one and it was further south than i ever had lived and people had real southern accents and i guess they recorded country music there and oh god what had i done - i kept thinking: is this my baby? am i really supposed to be doing this? was this the choice i was really supposed to make? is this where i'm supposed to be?
over, and over again. is this my baby?
***
when i came to nyc, i had a general knowledge that i wouldn't stay forever. it's far too expensive of a city to stay in forever. and the suburbs in the northeast are not an option for me. i've done hour-long commutes and i can confirm they are not for me. the jersey or new york or connecticut or whatever state's suburbs that other people live in are not for me. and i appreciated from my time in other cities that there are many grand places to live. but new york, as i knew before i settled here, is an addictive place to live. you never run out of restaurants to discover, film festivals to attend, parks to walk in, corner stores to visit. it makes you pay a high price but it offers you so much. so very, very much. and so i've stayed, content. blissfully content. i thought - yes, i'll leave one day, but years from now. when it's more immediate. when it's more clear.
and, as it happens when we are bold enough to say we are blissfully content, one day two opportunities came along. the right opportunities at the right time. i don't know if they are quite mine just yet, but i'm at the point where i can see them. i can almost taste them. they're almost in my grasp.
but one is not in new york.
and so, before it's actually in my hands, i've been struggling. i know if this opportunity comes along again in a few years i won't want it, i'll be past it. and i know that that's ok - other opportunities may come in a few years that i'll want, too. this is not the be all and end all. but it's good. it's really good. it's that thing i've always kept my eye on. but you see, new york and i, we're just not done with each other. to move somewhere else feels unsettling. i feel unfinished. and i hem and i haw and i hem and i haw (in true type a fashion, over something that is not yet guaranteed) - and i keep asking, is this my baby? is this the opportunity i've been waiting for? or - do i really have to follow through on all the talk about leaving? i keep looking life in the face, pleading with it to make the decision for me, asking it to make clear to me what's the right path and what's the wrong path. again and again i keep asking - is this my baby?
is this my baby?
***
carrie never answers miranda. she changes the subject, asks her if she should just leave.
she never tells her that it's her baby.

14 comments:

  1. SHIVERS.

    this post was so so so so good.

    also, it makes me excited to see and talk to you IN PERSON next week. Eeee! So much to say! I can't wait to see you.

    Love to you as you figure out what you're going to do. I know whatever you choose, you will make it the right choice for you. XO.

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    1. thank you lady! I know I am SO pumped to see - we have oh so many things to talk about :)

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  2. Totally agree with Anna - great thought-provoking post. It seems that with any big life decision, it keeps you guessing and second-guessing. But once you make it, things kind of just fall into place and we move on to the next big life crossroad. Never ends, does it?!

    Also, a little something to think about. You could always move to Queens for cheaper rent and a 20-30 minute commute to the city (depending on what part you're in). Just sayin'! ;)

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    1. it really doesn't end - you think you've figured it out and then something ellse comes along. but you make a good point - after all the hemming and hawing no matter what you decide it does fall into place. and I LOVE the plug for queens haha. Brian and I are all over the map in where we may want to live in NYC - I know what I'll be looking at on streeteasy today :)

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  3. Wow! How exciting! And scary! And anxiety inducing!

    I know what you mean about New York. I tell myself "Oh, I won't be here forever" to justify paying an outrageous cost of living or some other city-living inconvenience. But when I imagine leaving, it puts me in a panic. Noooooo! I'm not done yet! That day is too far in the future to even fathom.

    Good luck making your choice (if it in fact becomes a choice for you to make). I hope the universe helps you out with a clue here and there to make your decision easier.

    And while we're plugging neighborhoods, can I put in my vote for Brooklyn? :)

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    1. haha - yes, you can! we love brooklyn!

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  4. Oh Colleen... how exciting! I'm not surprised that two places would want you at once. You're just that amazing. These types of decisions are the ones that I hate, because they're so pivotal to defining who we are and where we go in life. I hate all the pressure. But they also teach us things too, and sometimes there is no "right decision." Sometimes you just have to decide and then choose to live that choice. Choose to be happy in it.

    Just don't leave NYC before I make it up there, ok? Unless of course the move is closer to Carolina ;)

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    1. you are too kind! and this "sometimes you just have to decide and then choose to live that choice. choose to be happy in it." that has been running through my head since i read your comment. such good, good words.

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  5. So exciting. Yes, yes, yes. The lingering questions of decision making. Is this my baby? I am in a similar boat and want to scream from rooftops for someone to tell me where to go, but nothing about my decision can be talked about. I hear you, I feel you.

    Know this. You have got character, a character that will lead you to make the best of whatever you decide and you will thrive. No matter where you are and what you are doing, of this I am certain.

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    1. shannon you are too kind - thank you for the confidence :)

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  6. OHMYGOD...I know I am always saying this, but you are SUCH an amazing writer.

    I find that with big decisions, I just ask myself, what do I THINK will make me happiest RIGHT NOW? Because the best we can do is guess, and the most we can live for is right now.

    My post-college decision was actually incredibly difficult and traumatizing. But I remember my dad telling me that there are no wrong decisions. You just make one, and it's part of the journey of life, and it ultimately leads you somewhere you need to go.

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    1. thank you so much clair. it's so funny how different minds work - i get so caught up in how this decision factors into my life years from now and a leads to b leads to c. it's refreshing to be told that the most we live for is right now - thank you for telling me that.

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  7. I ask that same question time and time again re life choices. Should I quit my job? Should I get a new job? Should I be single forever? Should I have a family? IS THIS ALL MY BABY?! My baby, whatever it is, is probably completely lost by now

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  8. this was so beautifully written.

    I often have the same problem when it comes to thinking about decisions and the future. I've realized that no matter what you choose to do, life has a way of working itself out. We as human beings are capable of flexibility and change and it's just up to us to really "make it work". It's all about perspective and attitude.

    I hope things worked out for you!

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