I was raised by my grandparents, mostly.
I remember I must have been nine years old and it must have been a summer’s Sunday afternoon. My grandparent’s home always sheltered more people on weekends in their house; two large tables were sometimes required to contain all the members of the extended family who would there gather for lunch. I remember that one day when someone said they were going to go to the market or visit some relatives; I remember they asked me if I wanted to come along.
At first I said yes, then I said no.
I was just a kid but I remember an inexplicable feeling of loss engulfing me, crippling me and tearing me to shreds; there was something horrible happening inside me when that question started to ramify in my mind –and there I was, paralyzed.
And then I said yes, followed by another no, once and over again. Tired, they left without me and I cried saying that in the end, I wanted to come along.
Twenty-one years later and on the other side of the planet I am still terrified of making decisions. I am about to make one of the biggest decisions of my life so far and by doing so I am going to face another of my biggest fears –one that I will write about in a future occasion.
And I am, once again, paralyzed.
But why am I afraid of making decisions?
Because I just don’t know, because I am afraid of not choosing right, of not getting the best out of that decision and I fear I will forever live with that omnipresent ghost of what could have happened had I not chosen what I did choose.
Because the options are overwhelming and every time we make a decision we are choosing a group of consequences over another; consequences that we can guess about, not certainly define and ultimately, never fully grasp. The consequences to our decisions are unknown to us and that is what makes it scary.
Because time is limited and we all want to get the most of it. But of course, and when you think about it, you simply realize that in reality time is wasted when you don’t make a decision and stand still before the inviting roads, hoping to achieve something out of nothing –it’s all so obvious when you are not in that spot!
And still, I repeat this ritual as I did when I was nine, and when I first wrote these paragraphs I didn’t know where was I supposed to take it and I left it unfinished, afraid of choosing anything. I have always gone back to that same day and I remember the burning indecision still working through my spine as the engine of my grandparents’ car roared softer in the distance. I will never know what was waiting for me at the end of that simple trip but I know where my indecision took me –nowhere. And as I face the same dilemma once again, year after year, I try to remember that moment, for I know that avoiding the decision will never be the same as deciding to stay, it will never feel like anything anymore and I will be there and yet again, disconsolate.
But not this time: this time is mine to choose and see what’s on the other side of that distant roaring, from whatever window I choose to witness it.