Seniors and boomers often face tough decisions about relationships, health, finances, retirement, family caregiving, travel, lifestyle, sociopolitical causes and spirituality — hopefully not all at once.
If you feel stuck in the face of such a decision, get clear about what factors may be making that decision more difficult than it needs to be. A good place to start is to explore why you feel stumped. Then seek advice, act when you are ready and be as optimistic as you can about the anticipated outcome.
You may make a tough, breakthrough decision and never look back. Or you may have an unplanned experience that addresses your previous concerns and allows you to decide, based on the actual experience. Some decisions call for guidance, support, courage, persistence and willingness to live with continuing difficulty in the face of progress, but not with complete resolution.
The story of King George VI, as portrayed in the movie “The King’s Speech,” is a powerful example of the latter. A lifelong stammerer, he was faced with the dreaded crown that required public speaking. The guidance and eventual friendship of a most unlikely speech therapist supported the royal stammerer’s dedication, and the duo mutually reinforced their courage and sense of humor. The new king learned to successfully read speeches, but this activity remained difficult, and required the continuing encouragement of his friend and ally.
Sometimes we decide to do something we’d previously dreaded for the sake of a loved one, such as accompanying them on a vacation on the other side of the earth. In so doing, we might discover our own taste for adventure and cross-cultural immersion. Or we finally give ourselves permission to live more for ourselves after sacrificing too much for someone in our family. This often happens when family caregivers finally realize that bringing in some help enables them to return to a more normal life, and frees them from resentment and guilt.
To make progress with whatever decision is challenging you, keep in mind that to know yourself is to grow yourself; to ask for help is not a sign of weakness; and, if you make a “wrong” decision, it could lead to a new direction that is right for you.