Deciding or Escaping


Last night, we were watching the Superbowl, me in a pleasantly hazy exhaustion up far past my usual Sunday bedtime watching ads, Arthur texting with his brother and actually watching the game. Arthur has a pretty big soft spot for Peyton Manning and thus was rooting for a Broncos win.

I’m not an NFL fan for numerous reasons (college is a whole different story, although I wonder these days about the ethics of watching a sport I’d never be excited about anyone I was close to playing due to the high injury risks), but I do love narrative arcs and I’m a sucker for a good story. As much as I grumbled every time Manning was made the big news (because as far as I can tell, the Broncos defense mostly won the game), I wondered if he’d go for the sports-fairy-tale ending, announce his retirement and sail off into the sunset.

At the end of the game, with reporters pressing him over and over and many allusions to his likely pending retirement, Manning said something that didn’t give the neat ending but that surprised me a bit. Manning responded that this was an emotional night after an emotional week and said “I got some good advice from Tony Dungy, and that’s not to make an emotional decision…I’m going to go kiss my wife, kiss my kids, and celebrate with my teammates.”

Around the third week E was in NICU, I got a cold, couldn’t see her for a week, then had the NEC scare and the rollercoaster started on a downward dip after the high from E surviving birth. This kicked off what I can best describe as a mindset of resolutely looking forward as we raced along through the lows and highs of the last year, which were some of the most pronounced I’ve ever experienced. We’d barely moved into our new place, had a baby in NICU, new job for Arthur, new position for me, my brother died, and yet, here I was, worrying about whether or not we should make plans over the next year or two to move to a different city, which would have also entailed (another) job change. I wondered if I was on the right career path and the feasibility of starting a master’s degree in a year or two.  This was noteworthy because I could barely keep a handle on everything as it was, let alone adding another major responsibility. I found myself justifying this mindset by saying I was “considering the future” and “being realistic”.

Ha. I was, to put it bluntly, escaping.  There’s a wonderful rush that comes with a new endeavor, the blank, unmarked pages full of possibility. Certainly, the promise of fresh starts seemed a heck of a lot better than the hard, slow work of relearning the everyday rhythms of a stressed marriage or just f*cking dealing with the terrible loneliness of suddenly being my parents’ only living child.

Last night, though, hearing those words about not making serious decisions that can reasonably be postponed during a time of intense emotion finally hit me. It’s good advice. While we’ve got one or two fairly serious choices that do need considered in the next few months, the rest of it can wait just fine. I think I’m going to take a page out of Manning’s book there and just celebrate the victory of being in a relatively happy, stable, sane place before we start exploring those roads.

Want more Microblog Mondays or curious about what it is?  Head on over to Stirrup Queens to read more posts or join in!  Thanks to Mel for originating and hosting. 


11 thoughts on “Deciding or Escaping

  1. Good to hear you are in a better space. The ‘gypsie urge’ is a force to be reckoned with… When I was 7 my mother left my father. It was a good decsion, they were miserable. However, with 5 kids on her own life was very hard. She moved from place to place on the sole parent pension, working where she could, struggling to get by. There was always a reason to move. There was always ‘a better life’ for us in the next place. I’ve lived in over 50 houses! But truth be told, staying put and working on the life she already had would probably have been more productive 🙂 The grass is not always greener.

  2. I deal with difficult feelings by throwing myself into planning too. I’m glad you got this insight from (of all places) a football game. The past year has been burdened by such strife/loss that I’m glad you’re resolved to sit still for a minute and savor.

  3. I don’t follow football, but I heard about this. I kind of love that he’s telling his story on his own terms. That he isn’t letting the public write the story for him. I think it’s good advice because it’s too easy to take the short term option rather than considering the long term when you make decisions within the emotion of the moment.

  4. I don’t watch professional sports either, so I completely missed this.

    One danger with the “grass is always greener” mentality is that we don’t take into account how much work will need to go into escaping and reestablishing. Grey and I a are currently in the thick of it and it’s hard. So waiting out the urge is usually a good idea, though there are cases where it is better to jump the gun.

    Thanks for this reminder.

    • It’s very easy to gloss over all the work in escaping and reestablishing. I’m sorry you’re in the thick of this – it is, like you say, a hard place to be. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Beautiful post and a great reminder that decisions can be postponed, and that sometimes filling your life with plans can be a way of escaping the present. I loved the parallels between the Superbowl and your NICU experience, and although I know practically nothing about Peyton Manning other than he was going to retire and his team won, his thoughts on decision-making amongst emotional tides and your connections was just gorgeous. Wise words.

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