Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 - the year of no decisions


beer notes
{notes}

We were married in September and we sped right into the holidays without much time for reflection. And then January hit. We were driving home from a wedding at midnight and I started to feel my anxiety rev up. 300 miles along the coastal highway is pretty during the day, but at night it feels like you're hurtling forward without any inkling of where you actually are and it starts to get disorienting.

I was rambling on to D about how we were married and did that mean we had to start thinking about whether or not we were going to have kids (we are both so deeply ambivalent that it's difficult to even figure out how to have a conversation about it) and whether we should move, or maybe even try to look at houses again except we spent most of our savings buying a car and then having a wedding and do you know how much down payments are in Los Angeles? Does that mean we should move somewhere else? Or should we be saving even more? And then I jumped to careers, to wondering if we should be pushing each other harder and if I just enjoy my job is that enough because shouldn't I be passionate about it and also maybe find something that makes more money but what would we do about health insurance?

Before we were married, things felt pretty stable. We knew we would get married eventually and then we'd figure out what to do next. Now it suddenly felt like marriage had dumped this puzzle in my lap and I had to figure out how all the pieces went together and if you know me, you know that I don't like half finished projects so I want all the pieces in place NOW.

Dustin did what he's so talented at doing, which is to make murmuring noises during my increasingly amped up rants and then finally suggest that we just set all that aside for now because we probably aren't going to figure out our lives at midnight when we've already driven 400 of our 600 miles for the day.

And then I realized that not only did we not have to think about these issues at the moment, we didn't have to think about them for a while. I upped the ante and immediately declared 2012 to be the year of no decisions.

Obviously we still make little decisions every day and we'll make big ones as they come up and have to be faced. It's not the year of being an ostrich. But we're not voluntarily making any life path* type decisions this year. My goal for the year is for us to enjoy our lives in this moment. I want us to get to our one year anniversary and feel like we did the absolute best we could with what we had and got as much out of it as possible.

It's feeling good so far. 



* I've become increasingly jaded with life path decisions anyway. I've always been seriously type A, which means I had most of my life planned out by the time I was 8. And everything went basically according to plan until I graduated college and started realizing that you can plan your little heart out and nine times out of ten something unexpected happens and you have to re-group and possibly change directions altogether. Which is fine, good even. I think we need to learn to be flexible and I now value resilience over any other quality, hands down. When I accepted that I didn't have control over everything, it freed me up to start focusing on how I live my life and what qualities I want to cultivate in myself. I can't control external factors but I can make sure that I'm comfortable with the person I am, regardless of what sorts of hands I'm dealt throughout life. That's a good thing, but every once in a while my inner planner pops out and starts screaming about timelines. I'm working to ignore her. I discuss this issue a little more towards the end of this post.

100 comments:

  1. Your post made me laugh. After my husband and I got married (at age 29 and 30 respectively), and we looked around to find that nearly all of our married friends have kids. We immediately started getting pressure, and we are also ambivalent. So for a while I kept feeling like we just HAD to decide. Just before new year, we looked at each other and said, "I'm not ready." and decided that we are NOT having kids this year. Triumph! A decision not to decide. : )

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    1. Exactly! "A decision not to decide" is the perfect way to put it.

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  2. ahhh, so glad i read this. seriously. i'm an avid planner myself, and always like to know (and prepare for) what's to come. but lately, i've been re-evaluating my inner being, and simply trying to let the future unfold itself, without me necessarily 'penciling it in' to my future. make sense?

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    1. That absolutely makes sense - I don't mind making plans, but it's good to know when to let go.

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  3. My heart loves to plan too...for awhile "planner" was even in my job title - ha! But I've also come to realize that life is not about getting to the next thing, it's enjoying the NOW, because it passes so quick. (Although one thing to realize, another to practice). I'm trying to dwell in the now too...love your year of no decisions idea.

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    1. It really does pass so quickly! It's so trite to talk about how time starts flying as you get older, but it really does feel like that.

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  4. Oh man I needed to read this today. I had a five year plan when I turned 19. At 24 I have now finished that plan and have been trying to figure out the next step. I heartily second 2012 as the year of just being.

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    1. If you're just coming off a 5-year plan, it sounds like a year of just feeling things out could be really good!

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  5. I am currently enrolled in a professional program without ever having known if what I wanted to do was be that type of professional. In my case, that was okay - it was an acceptable education, but even with not being particularly type A, I forgot that I didn't really have a plan (which I was okay with). This week I have been remembering that I don't know what my plan is, and sitting down to figure out what I should and shouldn't plan.
    Thank you for sharing your brave non-choice choice: it's a reminder and confirmation for me this week that not choosing can be okay.

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    1. It's easy to forget that you don't have an end-goal when you're wrapped up in a program! I think that happens to a lot of people. And it's good that you're working through it. Sometimes you just have to move forward even when you aren't 100% sure of the destination.

      I think it would be easy to let "going with the flow" become stagnation if we didn't let ourselves move forward into uncertainty.

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  6. really interesting and honest. I'm a bit of a planner, but when we were first married, the questions started coming AT us, not from within. I probably snapped at some people out of annoyance, but I really meant to just firmly put my foot down: the first year is all ours, back off. it's good to just be married and enjoy life. the rest (whatever it is) will come soon enough.

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    1. Oh yes, we've gotten some of this too. (Although not as much as I expected, honestly. I tend to be pretty snappy with people who ask me personal questions in real life, so I may have scared most of them off pre-wedding!)

      Regardless of whether you and your SO are making decisions at any given point in time, I think it is your absolute right to tell everyone else to butt out!

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  7. I can so appreciate what you've said here, Rachel! I'm also a type-A, list making, planner myself and while I think those are all good qualities to have, you nailed it when you said that we have to accept that we don't have control over everything. So true! It's something I'm also learning. I hope the year of no decisions turns out exactly as planned! ;)

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    1. Thank you, dear! I definitely value those qualities in myself as well, just trying not to let them take over completely!

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  8. This is refreshing to read. I am an avid planner too and I feel like time is slipping underneath my feet - so much to accomplish. But there's no need to hurry the process. It all works out for the best.

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    1. I agree - enjoying the process is more important than rushing it. Sometimes I feel like time is flying but then I remind myself that just makes it even more important to slow down and enjoy the moment.

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  9. I like this plan and may in fact adopt it myself. Sometimes it is so important to just let life happen, rather than thinking everything through. Thank you so much for sharing your moment!!!

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    1. Well, I can't promise I won't be overthinking everything. That's hard to control! But I do aim to let things happen and let go as much as possible.

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  10. I'm so with you. My wedding last year was such an external focus from my every day life that I think I fill that void now with worry about future projects!

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    1. Yes - it can feel funny coming back out after wedding planning! For us it was actually just that we'd put off a lot of other issues while we were planning (just because we didn't have time) and it was a little difficult to come back after the wedding and realize that all those things were still there and needed to be dealt with! Um, I'm not sure what we *thought* was going to happen.

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  11. it sounds like a great decision not to decide anything this year. if you both like where your lives are at, there's no rush to change that.

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    1. Thanks, Julia - we are pretty happy with things and we know that we'll need changes soon. Just not now.

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  12. A year without decisions or plans? Oh, I wish. I need to do this. I never learned to go with the flow. I'm always swimming upstream, forcing things to happen.

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    1. Ha! Well, I'll admit that it does feel a little unnatural, but I have high hopes that I can make it happen!

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  13. I am a planner like you. Everyone tells me to 'just relax' and those are the 2 most annoying words I can hear.

    I have really been trying to live more in the moment for the past year or so and some times find it pretty challenging. Good Luck with 2012 and I hope you find it relaxing and amazing.

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    1. Yeah, even when I am trying to be more relaxed I hate it when people tell me to relax. It is NOT USEFUL for type A people. And then I get stressed out because I'm not relaxing well enough, which is possibly the most embarrassing form of stress!

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  14. We were married 6 years before having our daughter... and up until the day we had her I was still unsure about it and being a mom. I have had this same moment so many times. I wasn't smart enough to put a decision hold on things. What a great idea! Enjoy your year and soak it up.

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    1. Thanks, Nessa! This is good to hear - I just really don't know about being a parent and I have no idea how to make that decision! I'm so glad that other people are uncertain but have it turn out exactly right.

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  15. Aaaah thanks for sharing this! The timing could not be more perfect. I literally just wrote about my recent struggles with indecisiveness. I wish I had read this a few hours ago haha.

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    1. I think a lot of the time (at least with me) indecisiveness is actually a symptom of being overwhelmed. Maybe take a step back and let yourself breathe and then reconsider your decisions?

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  16. Absolutely amazing post! I agree entirely. I think the thing that most prevents people from enjoying their lives is their expectations of how it should look, rather than just enjoying it for what it is. Who cares about what it's 'supposed' to look like, or that it doesn't look like what everybody else's does. Being happy is better than achieving a certain goal or keeping up with the Joneses.

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    1. Yes! The expectations vs. reality thing is really difficult and it honestly doesn't make much sense. When I realize I'm making a decision out of ego, I try to think that through and then admit that it isn't right for me.

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  17. Alleluia! I'm not the only one!!Although I can't say I've been a planner all my life, but once I graduated "where is my life going, am I getting the best out of it that I can, and what does it all mean ?!?!?" became more of an obsession for me than I would like. And like you said, life deals you cards that don't always fit neatly with your plans. It feels GOOD to know that there are other people out there trying to give themselves a break from the life race too. great post.

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    1. I think these existential dilemmas can end up being either really productive or a huge time sink! You have to figure out whether the pondering is moving you forward into a better place or just paralyzing you, and then decide how to handle it.

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  18. I have been reading your blog for a while now and yet, I have never wrote a comment to say how much I appreciate it and love it. A confluence of events brought me back here today and reading your post, I knew this had to be the day when I write because the content seems be a page from my life's story...my life two years ago, that is. I was going through the same self-imposed stress, with newer and newer things that had to be decided and planned for the next day. This continued until a major health scare shook me out of it and ever since, I have been living in the moment. None of us is guaranteed a tomorrow and so, why worry about it? I learnt that tomorrows have a way of solving for themselves and that we tend to make our best decisions when we are pressed for time, when we do not have the luxury of time to dissect every inch of the problem, so we end up going with our instinct. Anyway... I am not going to write literature here, I just wanted to say "hi" (a long one, I guess) and cheers for the new approach to things!

    XX

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    1. Hi, Bodhi! Those health scares can really have a huge impact on us, right? I wouldn't want to say I'm grateful for them, exactly, but they do help put life in perspective a bit. Nice to hear from you!

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  19. Right now I'm in the throes of wedding decisions, and I wish I could just push all those aside. I too and type A and like to have plans, but I'm realizing also that you don't need to make all the decisions right away. The important thing is to be on the same page as your SO. Whether choosing between a million choices or not doing anything, just agree.

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    1. Yes, you definitely both need to be on the same page or it doesn't work out so well!

      Remember that you can easily get decision fatigue, especially while wedding planning. If you can, take a quick step back, re-group and then approach some of those decisions fresh. Sometimes you find that it makes it clearer to see which ones you actually care about and should put time into and which ones you're just willing to let go of or throw a bit of money at.

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  20. Brilliant. Sounds to me like someone is truly becoming wise and handling life (and marriage) wonderfully. Love this post.

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  21. i just about burst into tears reading this post. i'm going through many similar feelings and this was really comforting. thanks, rachel.

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    1. Oh, Diane - my heart goes out to you! I hope that you can find a bit of peace with whatever choices you make (or choose not to make!).

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  22. My husband and I did this last year, and dubbed 2012 the year of action and while I'm still freaking out about our impending move/home buying/career changes/baby? I feel better now that I had a fun, relaxing year beforehand.

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    1. Ha! Okay, I'm definitely not thinking about next year yet (which will be a year of action, I think) but I'm glad that alternating years worked out for you! Good luck with all the busyness!

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  23. Thanks for this--it's nice to hear that I'm not the only one. I'm the same way--I was fine until I graduated from college, and suddenly it felt like I had to make all the decisions, all at once. The big ones, the little ones, all of them. Luckily, I'm learning to save decisions for when they actually need to be made. Marriage, kids, career--I'll decide about all of them when the time is right. In the meantime, I just have to keep reminding myself that it's okay to not have a Super Master Plan--there is always time.

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    1. Yes! Leaving college is a little scary and I worry that maybe the reason for that is that we aren't teaching kids enough about resilience and are instead teaching them too much about quantifiable success. It leaves people a little adrift once they reach a point where they need to take the next step and it isn't completely obvious.

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  24. I can totally relate. It's nice knowing that we're not alone, right? My favorite quote: "Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity..." ~ Gilda Radner

    http://sisterswithasideofstyle.wordpress.com

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    1. It is nice knowing we aren't alone! And I love that quote.

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  25. We had a couple years of no major decisions. It was lovely. But since about August, we've been rather forced to make some pretty big decisions. I wish things would slow down again! Maybe next year...

    I'm glad you're enjoying this time to just be.

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    1. Yes, you definitely can't always choose to not make decisions. And we'll probably have some that we end up making anyways, but we're just trying to avoid any unnecessary ones. No borrowing trouble!

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  26. I want to bookmark this post, print it out, put it on my face, have others read it, have myself read it over and over again, and accept that not making big decisions is okay! I am especially drawn to that second paragraph, and the asterisk one. There's something very admirable about what you're saying, so thank you (!) for sharing it. I'm glad you seem to be living in the moment and enjoying do so — every once in awhile, it's important to just do that!

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    1. Thanks, CW! It's not possible all the time, but I think it's worth striving for.

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  27. Friends around us are making big life decisions- houses, jobs, babies, etc. And sometimes I get caught up in comparing our situation to theirs. I should just enjoy the ride and not put so much pressure on where it takes us. Thanks for sharing. xo.

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    1. Yes, we aren't all in the same place and it makes everything a little weird when our cohort starts splitting off!

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  28. Hey Rachel,
    I've been following you for a while and felt compelled to comment today. Your post was so completely relatable. I've completely been in that conversation - where it starts kind of rambling and amps up into a rant and before you know it, you need your life figured out, colour-coded and highlighted and timelined NOW. :) The No Decision year is really quite insipired. I don't know if I could do it but I tip my hat to you. Your blog is wonderful. Thank you for sharing a part of who you are with us.

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    1. Thanks, Yishey! I don't know if we can do it 100%, but we're going to work on it.

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  29. Interesting post, and definitely one that is relatable. It is a balancing act for sure. Planning and letting go at the same time. You make plans and talk about your desires and aspirations, do what needs to be done to get there, but then you also have to recognize that the universe may have other things in store for you and prepare yourself for taking what comes to you. Enjoying your life now and looking forward to the days ahead.

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    1. Yep, balance is exactly the right word. I mentioned it in a comment above, but I never want "living in the moment" to turn into "stagnation", so it means being willing to move forward into the unknown and accept that you won't always get exactly what you hoped for.

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  30. Thank you for sharing this! I would also consider myself Type A, till after I graduated college... I am glad I did not stick with my set plans, and have found myself to be really happy in the decisions I have made since then! I think your idea of 2012 being the year of no decisions is fabulous! Sometimes just going with the flow makes your life even better!
    http://lindseyyoung.net

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    1. I think that transition from college to actual life can be a bit brutal for us type As! Good for you for finding a way to be happy through the transition!

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  31. Such a good post. Thank you for sharing. I'm so Type A and like you have had everything college, grad school, career, wedding planned for the longest. It's a good reminder to breathe.

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    1. Yep, breathe! It really is a relief not to be shackled to plans or a timeline sometimes.

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  32. I'm trying to plan everything too.. we should be more flexible! I wish you a wonderful year of no decisions!

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    1. Now that I'm in this place in my life, flexibility is my #1 goal. I just can't think of any other trait that serves you quite as well!

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  33. My husband and I are about 2.5 years into our marriage and we still haven't made any big decisions. Ha! No home, no kids, not even a new car. We both just know that we're happy with where we are right now (working hard at our jobs and exploring our passions) and maybe in a couple years, we'll have a kid. Or travel the world. Or something like that. I think everyone else who's close to us gets a little annoyed that we don't have our lives "planned" out, but I've always been a little afraid of commitment and I like to keep things open so I'm ready to jump at a good opportunity if it comes up.

    Love this post.

    Catherine
    FEST

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    1. I think this is an awesome place to be in, Catherine!

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  34. I love that you posted this.

    I got engaged in December and almost immediately it was like, "What am I supposed to do with my (our) life now!??!" I mean, there are things you're supposed to do when you hit this stage. It gets especially stressful when everyone around you is asking you all these questions.

    Eventually, I came to the same conclusion. I love that someone else thinks this way, too.

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    1. Isn't it weird how those milestones seem to bring up all kinds of questions that you were successfully not thinking about before?

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  35. you sound nuts in this post. save this stuff for a journal, friend, or therapist.

    life is life, don't overthink it on your otherwise awesome blog. overthink your recipes, crafts, and DIY's all you want.

    thumbs up for the info on the name tags for glasses.

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    1. Hmmmm ... I don't know, Anon. I agree that I sound a little nuts in this post because it *is* a little nuts, but I still think it's valuable to have some real-life stuff posted amongst all the fluff and DIY I usually share (and enjoy sharing). I've always put out 95% light content with the occasional more personal post and I'll probably continue to do so - feel free to skip over those ones if they aren't to your taste! To each his own. Glad you enjoyed the tags.

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    2. Here's how I see it:
      I read your blog because you have talent for putting a narrative to some things that I try to cultivate in myself - giving nature, party planner, gracious hostess, baker/chef, creative mind, awareness and conscious effort to improve, etc. I think all those "fluff" pieces you post are cool little inspirations that enable people to be a better version of themselves. That is no small feat. Your unique voice makes every post feel like a highlighted, edited, attainable version of real-life, and usually has a very honest and organic feel to it. Your blog is somewhere I go to feel uplifted, and you always deliver. So while I certainly get your mini-freak out, when I read that post, its a bummer and emphasizes what you don't have. It doesn't seem consistent with your usual voice of highlighting what you do have. Not like its your obligation to stick to one thing, but I wanted to let you know in more detail why I think your 95% fluff stuff is so worth reading and why that post was just not for me.

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    3. Anon, I do appreciate this comment and the pains you went to in order to make your position clear. I want the blog to be a largely uplifting space, and I'm glad that those posts speak to you.

      This particular post really wasn't meant to read as a bummer and I'm sorry if it came off that way. I think I'm just in a position a lot of people find themselves in around this point in their lives and I think it's useful for some people to hear this articulated.

      I guess the bottom line is that I want this space to be a place where people feel inspired but I also never want it to end up looking overly airbrushed or perfect. I'm human, I have freak outs, I figure out strategies to deal with them and sometimes I share them here. I can promise you that they'll never take over the blog, because I prefer to focus on the little moments that uplift me most of the time and I find a great deal of joy in that. But they're definitely going to be here from time to time.

      I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, but I do appreciate your input.

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  36. I don't know what everyone else said, but I don't think that your marriage should change anything, really- as long as YOU were happy with your life before, then who's to say what you should be doing next besides you. I get how a big life changing event (hello, wedding!) could make you start to question what you SHOULD be doing. The fact of the matter is that you were always doing what you SHOULD've been doing as long as you were both happy!

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    1. You're a smart lady, and this is definitely true! I don't know why hitting a milestone in life suddenly makes me question everything. It's good and bad.

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  37. My husband and I got married last March. We had spent a year scrimping & saving for the wedding and choosing not to do a lot of things we wanted to do. After the wedding, we spent almost a year doing everything we wanted to do, traveling when we felt like it and shopping (mostly me) when and for whatever I wanted.

    It was great, but then we started feeling like it was time to start saving again and getting ready to buy our first house. We're now back on the scrimping & saving schedule, but it's a lot easier since we had that after-wedding period of FUN and now we're dedicated to a new goal together.

    Sounds like your partner is a great match for you. Best wishes for that first happy year!

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    1. Sounds like we are on the same schedule! I think we're going to buckle down next year, but it just feels like such a relief to not even think about the future this year.

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  38. Rachel, come move to NC! It's awesome and you can buy a house for what you pay rent in L.A.;) Lol, then maybe one day we will finally meet in person!

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    1. There are times when I dream of this ...

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  39. I loved your blog and your comments about life. I'm sure you'll figure it all out when the right time comes. Have a great weekend!

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  40. Oh, honey. I could practically feel the nervous perseveration while reading this. This resonated so much with me, with the exception of the "kids or no kids" dilemma. (We chose not to.) There is a lot of cultural pressure to be Advancing Your Life Plan, so good for you for realizing earlier than I did that you can relax into life's inevitably changing circumstances.

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    1. Yes, I am definitely a person with anxiety, so it's fairly easy for me to get worked up! Those cultural pressures are hard to escape, and I'm glad that you're in a good place yourself.

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  41. I love this idea! For the last four years or so, every big life decision has been tied up in another on (can't get engaged until we have somewhere to live, can't afford to get married until we're settled in to said place to live etc.) So getting married in a few weeks represents the end of the big chain of events and on to living with some freedom! I'm so looking forward to it!

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    1. Yes - that chain! It all comes together suddenly and then you're at loose ends. It sounds like you're going to deal with it perfectly. D was thrilled to be at loose ends, I am in theory but in practice I have a hard time letting go (hence this post!).

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  42. Oh, the "shoulds" in life...sigh. :) I appreciate your honesty in this post, just had to respond! Thanks for sharing. Lots of us feel this way, but hardly anyone has the courage to admit or vocalize it. Personally, I think that's something to be proud of.

    I'm much like you and like to have a plan, but the more experienced I get life, the more amendable I am to letting that plan change as we go along. Don't get me wrong, I still like a good "master timeline" because it makes me feel purposeful, like I'm moving towards something that will enrich our lives and make me personally, and as a partner in a marriage, a better person.

    At the same time, I've become so much more aware of the dangerous trap of the "shoulds." They can really stop you from feeling and living life, and really enjoy all those seemingly small moments in the middle that create memories -- the ones that really count. We got married last year as well, and it does make me think about all our next steps, like you said. But these are really nothing more than the shoulds that society tells us we're supposed to hit up next in life: have 2 kids, get a promotion, buy a house, blah, blah, blah.

    Yeah, we do want a family, and sure, owning a home one day would be nice (we'd both looooove a good renovation with our signature). But now, I like to ask, why? Why do I feel we need to do that NOW? Or at all? Does it *truly* make sense for US on all levels -- emotionally, financially, timing-wise, etc. What's motivating me to want it? If the reason is because that's what society says we/I should do next, then no thank you! The beauty of freedom is that we don't have to do those things in any particular order--or ever--we all get a choice. And you can do it together when the time is right.

    Lately, I feel really good that behind all our choices will not be a motivation to meet all the "shoulds," and follow the so-called American life plan to marriage, kids, home ownership. Instead, we make those decisions with the confidence and measured thought that they're right for us, and done when they're right for us.

    Good for you for taking some time to breath! Do those things when they make actual sense and you're good and ready. ;)

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    1. This is such a thoughtful comment, Kristine! I do agree about the master timeline, or something equivalent. You don't want to be stagnating! It's important to me that I'm growing as a person all the time, whether I'm "moving forward" in tangible ways or not. I am spending some time this year focusing on little ways to improve my everyday life, which helps keep me on track. But it feels *so nice* to ignore the "shoulds" for a while.

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  43. Such a great post! Made me pause for a little self-reflection and reminded me that it's okay not to have everything figured out. I'm the consummate planner but a terrible decision-maker...character traits that don't really go all that well together. :)

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    1. Ha! I've mentioned this to a couple other people, but I think that sometimes planners can have a hard time making decisions because we get decision fatigue. Sometimes the best thing to do is to step away from your decisions for a little while and come back to them refreshed. As soon as I start feeling overwhelmed and stuck, I take a break (right now I'm taking a year, but normally I just take a bath and have a glass of wine or something. : ) It's all clearer once you get a little distance.)

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  44. I can definitely relate to this! I want to have a year of no decisions also!

    lavenderandlaceblog.wordpress.com

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  45. story of my life!!! so glad someone else feels the same

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  46. Hi Rachel,

    I want to comment on your replies to other comments. I know, weird of me to do that. But really, you put so much into your post and allow other people to see your thought process. And then your replies to the comments are so genuine and thoughtful as well. Even for the comments where there is a disagreement. I really admire that.

    Vang :)

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    1. Thanks, Vang! I don't always get to reply to all comments, but I do my best because I think you guys deserve it. Especially when the comments raise really interesting points!

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  47. Sometimes the best decision is no decision...enjoy your year off!

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  48. I think this is a brilliant idea!

    I was married almost three years ago, at 23 we were quite young! Having said that it was one huge decision that was right for us...since then we have pretty much got on with being 20 somethings' - and its bliss. Someday we will make big decisions, but right now I am so happy that my decisions is about deciding if I should go out this weekend! xx

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  49. This post was practically speaking to me. We got married last June and we're still muddling through the 'what's next?' part. It's overwhelming but when you take a step back and realize the decisions don't have to be made all at once, it definitely helps. Love your blog and enjoy you writing. Keep it up! :)

    xo,
    Rachael

    www.rachaelkhawkins.blogspot.com

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  50. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Life threw me a curveball last year and I was summoned to make significant life-changing decisions last year--out of necessity more than out of desire. After a whirlwind of a year, I left my job and moved back to my hometown at the end of the summer without any plans set. I allowed (albeit reluctantly at times) to let life fall into place. It did by the end of the year. I found it was when I stopped making plans, that plans happened all on their own.

    So this year I too decided to let go of expectations and just be. I find that I am perfectly happy focusing on being happy, doing the things I love, and enjoying the people I love. Although I admit the planner in me often wonders if I am settling with the way things are. So perhaps I am settled now, and that’s okay. I am happily employed and I am near the most important people in my life--my love and my family.

    So thanks, Rachel. This blog post is reassuring to know I’m not alone. Cheers to no plans in 2012! : )

    Evelyn

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    1. Yes, those curveballs can make you despair a little, but they really force to re-evaluate everything and sometimes they turn out to be a good thing.

      I *always* worry about the settling issue as well. I think we just have to practice letting go of it and focus on how we are actually feeling, not how we are worried about people perceiving us. I find that I know when I'm restless and it's time to make a change.

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  51. I 100% agree with you. After reading this, I printed it out and stuck it to our fridge and highlighted the important bits that reflected the position that myself and my boyfriend are currently experiencing. Being one of the youngest couples in our circle of closest friends - unmarried (but completely committed), we have a home together but no children (and none coming along in the near future), no engagement at this point and I am still working my way through university and a weekend job. We've attended all of our friends weddings and over the past two years have put up with 'you'll be next', 'put a ring on it' and all of the other comments. Our favourite was 'I don't consider you two as being in a relationship because you're unmarried. Therefore, you're single'. I am being very sarcastic when I say that that was our favourite. I almost blew that 'friend' apart except we were at another wedding.

    Now, there are three babies coming into our circle of friends. While my boyfriend and I don't resent our friends for being older, married and settling down, we do resent the way that they make us feel. I don't understand what the big deal is: we love each other and want to be together yet don't feel the need to run out and get engaged because everybody else around us tells us too. Much like you, I am a planner. I do lists. I mark things off my lists. I have a structured timetable for my university days and my days off. However, after reading your post, printing it out and reading it to my boyfriend (who, btw likes your blog - 'Rachel is realistic' he says)we have both decided to just let things be. 2012 is the year where we relax and let things happen. I have agreed to forego some of my list writing and organisation and he has decided to not feel blackmailed and pushed into a decision that we are not ready for.

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    1. April, I'm so glad this resonated with you! I think it can be really difficult, being in a different place in your life from the majority of the people around you. I hope you guys can relax and see what happens this year (and as one planner to another - I swear it does get easier to let go once you start!). Thanks for sharing your experience.

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