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The War of the Wants and the Shoulds

What if the possibilities were endless?  What if you could do whatever, whenever, wherever?

This is the question I keep having with myself in relation to how I want to spend my time next weekend.  You see, next Saturday, I will be celebrating my 39th Birthday!!  Next Thursday my nearest and dearest leaves on a 5 day boys weekend to celebrate a friend of his 30th birthday.  So I have the whole weekend to myself and I can’t for the life of me figure out what I want to do with my time.  As a side note: Yes, I am sad that my nearest and dearest won’t be here ON my Birthday and quite honestly that is how I would want to spend the day–but I am excited for him to get to hang with his friends whom he doesn’t see very often and we will have many weekends in February to celebrate!

I have thought about taking a trip, hanging with friends, throwing a party, renting a party bus, staying home to chill, and going on a meditation retreat. I feel I should be social, get out of the house, I should take a trip, go someplace warm, really whoop up my 39th and kick off my last year in the 30s with a bang.  Bottom line I just don’t know I am having choice anxiety.  Overwhelmed by too much possibility.

I think this frequently happens to us in our lives, we get overwhelmed by decisions with what do next?

First we think about all the options I could go back to school, I could move to Jamaica, I could stay at my current job and ask for a raise, I could move companies and do the same job or I could do nothing. Yep, the possibilities are endless.

Then we think of all the shoulds, I should be making more money, I should be responsible, I should stay where I am for the kids, I should have a Masters Degree, I should study something appropriate and on and on and on…

More often then not we choose the do nothing option.  Not because it is what we want necessarily, but because it is less painful.  Frequently the wants and the shoulds are contradictory and we can spin and spin and spin on all the options, contradictions and possibilities so we stay put.  Doing nothing.  Sometimes that is ok.  Sometimes the timing is off, we know WHAT we want do but it isn’t the right time, we don’t have the appropriate funding, we aren’t quite ready yet, the kids are too young or we need to do some more research.

The danger comes when we aren’t intentional about what’s happening.  When we stay stuck not because it makes sense but because the battle between the options and the shoulds is too great.   When we go back and forth ad nauseum.–as I have been doing on my how to spend my Birthday debate. It isn’t that I don’t know what I want to do it is that I think I should want something different.

I don’t want to have a big ring in the 39th celebration–(like I think I should) I don’t want to plan a trip and organize (or pay for) flights, hotels dinners etc (like I think I should).  I want and crave a quiet weekend at home–just me and our pets, watching movies, reading books sleeping in and eating yummy food.  Is it what I think I should want?  No.  But that’s ok.  The minute I was honest with myself the decision came to me as well as the reason why it was so challenging, my shoulds were louder than my wants.  So frequently we are stuck because our shoulds are louder than our wants–and when that occurs it is next to impossible to move forward until we are able to be honest with ourselves.

Whether the decision is larger or small,  impacting the long term or short—whenever we are listening to the voice of the should we will remain stuck and we most definitely will not be living happier.

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