I have been thinking a lot about ripple affects as of late. My work is very busy as we get ready to deliver thousands of small holder farmers agriculture products in the next two weeks. I’ve been finding myself thinking through the solutions that will prevent a domino effect or at the very least to limit the impact of anyone decision on all of the other activities going on. And so as I think through the professional ripple affects I have also been thinking through the personal ones as too.
I am trying to think through my next steps – how long do I want to stay in Mali? What kind of work do I want to do for the next 3-5 years? How satisfied am I doing what I do now? What parts of my life here are keepers and what aspects of my life could I do without? And as I wade through the bog of infinite questions, my people pleaser personality shows its true colours. It’s not enough for me to make a choice – I want to make the BEST choice that is available to me. And I have been struggling. Struggling to feel comfortable in my decisions, to feel like I am not making a million mistakes that will make me regret where I end up. I am struggling to find solutions that I can be sure are for my own happiness and not because someone else thinks it’s the best choice.
And then it hit me. A lesson I am sure many people have learned already. It doesn’t really matter what decision you make – someone is always going to have a reaction to you. If I chose to stay in Mali for the next 15 years there would be a group of people who would think I was crazy. If I chose to leave Mali tomorrow there are people who would tell me that it will be hard to come back to this part of Africa if I don’t stick with it now. If I chose to wear a certain type of clothes someone’s not going to like it. If I loose 100 lbs or gain 200 lbs someone will have an opinion one way or another.
And so I am trying to trust my gut. Trust that I can respond to the inner voice that is directing me towards something greater, and trust that I can in fact be the author of my own story. It isn’t easy, especially since people can be so quick to share their thoughts and feeling about others lives. And I am guilty of this too – I want to show that I care about someone and so I share what I think about decision a or b. But for now, I am going to try and trust myself – trust that I know what I can do next for myself, and my overall well-being. Here’s to taking the leap.