Reversing course

I made a decision last week to reverse a decision I’d made over the summer. (Sorry to be so vague, but it’s kind of not all that important, although when it happens I’ll tell you.) I’d been holding on to that decision, trying to make it work, excusing things and excusing myself even when I resented the whole situation. So when I made the decision to reverse and go in a totally different direction, it felt like this huge weight off my shoulders.

Then, yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend of mine from business school, who told me almost the exact same thing was happening to her (but on a much larger scale). She’d made a decision, committed to it over the summer, and followed through. And found herself horribly unhappy, feeling totally out of alignment with who she is and what she values and where she feels loved. And guilty about having made a bad decision. And like a failure.

And then she decided just to reverse. And as soon as she made the decision, she felt relieved, and not like a failure, and things started clicking in a strange way and she found a substitute for the original decision that was even better, and is all set to go on her new, reversed course that feels like her.

Right on the heels of that conversation I had another one with someone who had just come to a realization that one of her core beliefs was wrong. And that she might have to reverse.

I’m wondering if this is a season of reversing. Or of examining and correcting course to be on a path that matters to us. In the email I sent out yesterday (I send one out every other week-ish or so–you can get it by signing up in the box there on the right) I talked about deciding what you want to do by working backwards from the feelings you want to have instead of choosing a goal because it sounds like something you should do.

Those of us who are reversing course decided to do it because we felt so bad about our decisions, and we paid attention to those feelings, even when logic said we should just stick it out and suck it up.

I’m wondering if any of you have reversed course lately, or have been considering reversing course. What was holding you back? How do you feel about your decision? Are you feeling more in alignment with yourself now?

0 thoughts on “Reversing course”

  1. Right now, I am evaluating my switch to a 40 hour a week job. My previous job worked me 24/7 and paid me for 32 hours. I was able to balance live and work a bit by working from home. My current position requires work to be completed between 7am-7pm Monday-Friday at the office. I have modified my schedule to be able to be home early for my children, but I am evaluating asking for a reduction in hours to 35 a week when my contract comes up in March.
    Why am I held back? I am afraid that this will be considered a weakness. I am afraid the company I work for will take a loss on me and decide that it is 40 or nothing.
    Why should I do it anyway? Because I currently pay someone to pick up my kid from school and take her ice skating. That’s time I could be spending with her. I want to spend time with my kids. I do find my new schedule (why, yes, it still feels new), is tough, but I prefer it to what I HAD been doing.

    Good luck on your reversal, Moxie!

  2. Earlier in the summer, I had decided that my treatment for my depression and anxiety was going super-well, so I tapered off my meds. I also decided that yes, we would likely have another baby. But then, a month after I stopped the medication, the insomnia came. Over and over. And I fell right back down the hole and my marriage began to really suffer. I don’t think I was as well as I thought, and furthermore the way my marriage took a hit through the whole relapse made me think that in addition to going back on medication, I need to focus on people who exist right now – my husband and our relationship (go to counselling to figure out how to better be what each other needs) and my two kids who are already here. Adding another baby to the mix just doesn’t make sense, and likely won’t in the future. I’m 37 and decisions need to be made.

  3. I had committed, in my mind, to working through the end of the year. I was at a job I loved and then eventually hated. I was becoming more and more miserable, I made a choice to leave. Best decision I’ve made. Along with some health issues, a job hunt for husband and a job offer for husband (which, the increase in income, makes significantly more than I could ever have made), we’re in a much much better place. It was all because I made the tough choice to stop putting other people first and to finally put me first sooner than later.

  4. Huge course correction in April, and it has taken some adjustment, but it is much more sane a life. I feel tended instead of feeling harvested. I was valued in the old job, applauded, praised. And I am more struggling to feel as competent in the new job, fewer bullseyes but no wild misses, either. Longer commute, but fewer hours. It was the right choice. I have some regrets – there were huge impactful things I was going to get to try to do… Which I probably will never do, now. Instead, I will need to find something else to grow there.

    All of this concept for me is gardening. I did not know how to garden when we got our house. I tried stuff. Some things worked. Some plants struggled, and I had to watch them a season or two to know if they were just stressed or dying where they were. Some plants flowered and looked great and then never came back a second year, even those that would be expected to. Some struggled a year and then took off. Others eeked along until I moved them from there to another place. New spot, some took off and thrived, others died. Some thrived for years and then died tragic deaths, or spread and became weeds to me, or spread and became joys.

    All my life decisions are the same, I decided. None are going to be permanent or look just like the picture in the catalog. They will grow and change. Decisions that landed on me (someone is giving away plants!) become challenging issues or great joys, decisions I researched carefully can be disastrous or just meh. But I can usually rip out the plant, or move it, or amend the soil, or try a different kind. There are some things that can’t be undone or corrected, some things that will really hurt to change, whether it is because my expectations have to be discarded, or because I loved some idea that is not happening, or because I will grieve what was lost. And sometimes the storms in my life make those decisions easier or harder, change my options, change my choices, make me act out of season or cobble together make-do solutions while I try to figure out what to do next. Knowing I have another season, another year, another opportunity, that helps me roll with it. Even having grown up with food scarcity and uncertainty, I end up feeling like there are nets and options, services I would rather not use but will use if I need to, and many places where my life will have plot twists and surprises of all sorts. Learning to garden the crappy wet clay soil of my yard has been important to learning to navigate my life.

    So many storms and changes in my life recently that I have let the garden suffer, but the left turns and backtracks and course reversals and course corrections are all doing okay for now. I didn’t expect to end up here, and I have no idea what 10 years from now will look like. It’s okay.

    I do need to make some more corrections, still. But the huge ones are still settling in. My sister’s death, my brother’s bone tumor (benign, thankfully), my brother-in-law’s heart attack, epeepunk’s job ramping up, the behavioral health diagnoses for two of the kids, and the job change. It’s a lot to adjust to. I still think being able to think of it all as seasons and storms, tending, growing, pruning, replanting, helps me not panic and cling to what Ian’t working forever. For too long, yeah. But eventually I let it go and figure out what’s next to try, instead.

  5. I don’t know if it’s a seasonal issue – for me and my friends, I think it’s an age/professional development issue. Many people I know who are my professional peers (i.e. same number of years out of law school) are looking at their lives differently. It’s been a process over the past year. I’ve been a lawyer for just over ten years and turned 40 this year.

    1. MLB – I am approaching 10 years with my company and I’m having a huge identity crisis and potential career shift. I think it’s definitely to do with professional age.

  6. We’re in the process of evaluating this at my house. When looking at the (job related) future, there’s a hazy spot ahead. It could be a small bump or it could be a fork in the road. Still trying to decide which fork to take if it comes to that. Since this is all based on decisions we made 18 months ago which, if we’d chosen differently, would have meant neither a bump nor a fork. And if we’d had a crystal ball then, we would have chosen differently.

    The hardest part is that the person who needs to make the decision is my DH and that there are outside factors at play (ie an almost complete turnover in management with no clear picture of the new direction for the as yet unnamed new management)

  7. I tried to shift course with my work (less editing, more teaching) last fall, then got busy, got scared by a bump in plans, and chickened out. This fall, I picked up where I left off, and I’m feeling good about it, though still scared. What helped: Making a pact with a friend to apply for a set number of gigs.

  8. I need a course correction. I have figured out how to say No to stuff I don’t want to do….and that’s good….but now I need to figure out how to say No to things that would be awesome, but there is no more room. And I am finding that to be exceptionally hard to learn how to do. So I want to feel challenged but balanced….and the balance is the course correction I need. That I and I need to "course correct" my spouse back into therapy — not the same thing, I know, but it feels similar. He has made big improvements when he has gone in the past (his depression and anxiety are episodic) and he likes the benefits that he gets, but he needs to go back before I flippin’ lose it dealing with him in this current episode. I deal with depression myself, but I hit my limits in terms of the care I can provide versus what he needs to reach out for for himself.

  9. I recently had a miscarriage. Six weeks ago I learned at a routine ultrasound that my baby had died a couple of weeks earlier. I decided to wait for my body to naturally release the baby instead of a D&C, which has risks, with the support of my midwife.

    Fast forward to six weeks later and body is still retaining the pregnancy. My midwife is concerned b/c she says it should have released by now, and is concerned that my still high pregnancy hormone levels could indicate the rare condition of having cancerous cells.

    Apart from that I’m emotionally drained from the waiting and being in limbo. So I decided to undergo a D&C which I will be having later today.

    I’m so scared of the surgery and the possible risks. But the alternate is waiting for goodness knows how long, therefore possibly cutting into my "fertility window" to try again (I’m 40 so every month delaying trying again is critical), possibly hemorrhaging and possibly ending up needing a D&C anyway if the miscarriage ends up being incomplete. The D&C will enable the tissues to be tested for any cancerous abnormalities.

    I came to the conclusion that initially I made the right decision at the time (to let nature take its course) but now that circumstances have changed and I have new information, it was time to make a new decision.

    But I’m still sick with fear.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’ll be thinking of you today, hoping that the scary unknowns soon become non-scary knowns.

    2. Blue, I was in a similar situation many years ago when I was 41. I had 2 miscarriages that resolved by themselves, and one missed miscarriage – I found out around 11 weeks. I choose the D&C and it was a much quicker physical recovery.
      Of course, the emotional recovery takes much longer. I’m so sorry for your loss. How are you doing? Will you try again?
      We finally got back on the carousel ride, and I became pregnant at 43 the same month I really and truly decided to try a donor egg. Honest. That one stuck and is now a fabulous 2 year old.
      There is a great group on BabyCenter called "TTC over 40". They kept me sane. Hopefully you have a support group, too.

  10. Last school year, I went back to work full time for most of the school year. During that time, my family stepped up and pitched in and we made it work. I had a great time being back in the classroom and it was nice to be included in the workforce again. I didn’t realize the effect it really had on my family until the summer months came and I was home full time again.

    At the end of last school year, I was ready to sign on to working at school full time. I had bid on a full time position at my first choice school and told my second choice school that I was open for offers. Then after half the summer passed, and I was knee deep in repairing my family from my absence, I realized that it was better for me to take another path.

    So, when the full time offers arrived, I declined and decided to work for myself. I work from my home workshop and stop every day at a certain time so I can care for my family. I’m there for field trips and homework and I’m there when my son returns from highschool full of stuff to say. I’m there to hear him. I am more emotionally present, and I am more at peace working on my own and my family is in much better shape.

  11. After returning to work a year ago after maternity leave, I ended up in a shit job situation, which has been a complete mind-suck and not been healthy for myself nor my family. Late this summer we (my husband) decided to get me out of this situation and I feel like the bell jar is lifting, to steal a metaphor from Sylvia Plath. I’m reducing the hours at the shit job (I’ve worked my way too far up the ladder to want to give up the salary group and benefits completely) and will be taking up free-lance work (writing, translating, editing) to pick up the slack. It’s scary but at the same time incredibly freeing. I am looking forward to only being in the office 3 days a week. If all goes well, I hope to reduce more as I pick up more free-lance clients. And I am looking forward to the freedom of dropping everything and having a mama-kids day if the whim suits me!

    And I agree completely that this, this reversing course, is possibly a phase of life that hits us at 40.

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