Critical, high-stakes moments in life are often preceded by intense deliberation, stress, sturm und drang.
Did I answer the exam questions correctly? Am I going to make it there on time? Did the payment go through? Should I kiss him? Have I packed everything I need? Am I ready? What should I do? How will I know? Will it go wrong? Will I get hurt? Will I cause trouble for others? You’re a deliberate person, you want to know the outcomes and make a plan, but there’s no crucial insight and the questions spiral into a minor insanity.
Painstakingly, slowly, you hand in the exam. The agreed-upon meeting time slides 5, 10, 15 minutes into the past. The payment deadline passes. The sun rises as the first kiss connects. The sun sets and the flight lifts off.
And in that moment, right after the pivotal decision is made–the weight lifts, the sky clears and a lightness sets in. Because it’s true, as it has always been: you might get an awful grade, be late for the meeting, incur a fine, have your heart broken, leave your sunglasses behind.
Or you might not. But the critical decision is done, the painful part is over, and life carries on. All that is left is to bask in the irrevocability of reality, trust your judgement, rely on your instincts for the next stage, and if necessary, fail better.
Sometimes giving up, and giving in, is the most liberating choice you can make.
Photo: Nasir Almolk Mosque (“Pink Mosque”) in Shiraz, Iran. Photo by me.