Decision making isn’t my specialty. And unfortunately, I am in a season of life where there are some pretty important decisions to be made – the future of my marriage, employment, and where I will live. There is a lot that is out of my hands too. For instance, on the career front I can choose where I will apply, but the available positions and the eventual offers or rejections are beyond my control.
This is definitely a season of uncertainty for me. I have mixed feelings about uncertainty. On the one hand, uncertainty enables possibility. And possibility is the foundation for optimism about the future and a desire to work hard to achieve goals in life. Also, pleasant surprises come because of possibility. On the other hand, I am a scientist. I like data, and the more information the better. Maybe I have this deep seated (if naïve) notion that if I have enough information, I’ll know what to do. But scientists never have enough data…
Uncertainty is built into life. But, my discomfort now is that virtually everything about my future is uncertain – my next job, my wife’s job, the duration of my marriage, where I will live, where my wife and kids will live, and if I divorce, whether I will find a gay relationship that is mutually edifying for me and my partner. It has been sort of overwhelming lately. Big decisions like these tend to put us on certain trajectories in life. While sometimes those trajectories are reversible (finding a new home for instance), others like having children are essentially permanent. I’d like to make good decisions on these important issues.
I’m not sure how much I rely on spiritual mechanisms to help me make important decisions. Is intuition, prayer or consultation of holy texts helpful? I tend to be very skeptical of religious mechanisms now, though less so about broader concepts of spirituality. I also know that no amount of data can produce a roadmap for my life. I think my best foundation currently is simple principles like love, hard work, cooperation and optimism.
I’ve had a good life. My path so far has been unexpected, but it has been one of learning and opportunity, success and failure. The second half of my life may be quite different from the first half. But I hope there will be some common themes: learning, love, and pleasant surprises. Someone very close to me has encouraged me twice recently with the words, “things will work out”. I hope that is true.