Those who know me, or based on this blog have a vague sense of me, know I’m insanely impulsive. I have put more thought into whether I should go with black or white underwear than whether to move and I’ve spent more time returning things to the store than actually buying stuff.
I moved to the US after about 30 seconds of thought (and several adult beverages), drove to Montana on a whim to go on a date with my then boyfriend and I’ve moved 24 times since I was 18 (yes, I’ve moved house twice in one year on more than one occasion).
I’ve always prided myself on not getting too hung up on any decision, but recently the downside is outweighing the up.You can only roll with the wrong choices for so long.
Over the holidays, a trusted girlfriend and I were reminiscing about the comedy of errors that was the past 5 years of our friendship. The Albino boyfriend who made love like a woodpecker, the dog breeder who threatened to sue me for not showing my dog, the $4,000 sofa, buying a house I’d seen once, selling the house 10 months later to move in with a boyfriend and getting dumped the same day. Some decisions were just bad luck, but most were bad judgement and poor choices.
In hindsight I wondered if I’d been drunk or high for the last 25 years. I’m sure I wasn’t.
I respect my friend and I knew the comments came with love… but just it didn’t feel so funny in the cold light of being a 41 yr old single woman. I mean I’m a grown up. I have no urge to shop at Ann Taylor or buy curtains, but I don’t want to find myself homeless and pushing a shopping cart in Manolo Blanhiks and a thong either.
After some long conversations about my messy finances, my slightly barren love life and a year of sleepless nights, my girlfriend suggested therapy.
I’d tried budget spreadsheets and programs, ‘cooling off periods’ and morning after vows, yet I still found myself energized by the process of making a decision, making something happen, even when it was ill informed, badly timed or clearly ‘not the best idea’. Note – don’t be thinking about divorce the day you get married. Sitting on my hands kills me, but lately I wish I had a heavier butt.
I sure might have a healthier 401K and a less bruised heart.
Why did it take so long to wise up? Well bad decision making is cumulative. You make a bad decision, and then a worse decision to try and fix the first. And so on. Marry an even worse decision maker and you’re so busy trying to climb out of 2 sets of crap that you don’t notice how deep the hole is getting. My divorce left with a $3000 a month mortgage, and the hole got bigger. And so on and so on. Being on your own means that there isn’t a second income to rescue you when things get tough. With a trust fund consisting of recipe books and some insanely warm socks, I was on my own when the roof started leaking and my swamp cooler exploded.
It wasn’t until things finally bottomed out and I slowed down long enough to notice that ‘things.are.not.good.at.all’ that I realized that shopping cart was going to become a reality before I reached 41 unless something changed.
Today I’m 4 months into the therapy and progress is slow but steady. I no longer make decisions the day the situation arises and ‘I’ll get back to you’ has become a new mantra where all things economic are concerned. I’m making rationale, well reasoned decisions and I’ve not moved house for 6 months (I’m aiming for 18 to declare victory). I no longer listen to words but look at actions to determine if someone is being real and the majority of the things I’ve ‘chosen’ lately have been rational and beneficial – juicing, daily 5 mile walks, smiling. Other than giving my dog a haircut, nothing has been injurious (he looked very sad to lose his mow hawk). As a result my mental health and finances are returning to a less alien craziness and I no longer lie awake worrying about whether I really want to move to Montana (I don’t) or whether I can afford gas. In fact, this grown up reasonable life is quite appealing for its frugality and evenness (even if I do have to wrestle with not buying a corset on a weekly basis).
Now if only I could apply these lessons to my love life…That could definitely use some therapy.