Feeling Like We’ve Figured Out Our Priorities

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A few months ago a reader commented that my partner and I should set a deadline for making some big decisions in our life, such as deciding if we should move. That comment really stuck with me and was something I worked on in therapy and with my spouse. That’s part of why we were able to come to the decision that moving doesn’t make sense to us—we’ve actively been having conversations to figure out what our priorities are. Of course, life can throw curveballs, but we feel pretty confident about the direction that we’ve decided to steer ourselves in.

Overcoming My Struggle With Decision-Making

I think a lot of you could tell that I’ve struggled with decision-making, but over the past few months of therapy I’ve had some “aha” moments. The big one is that you need to have good reasons for everything that you do. Especially when it comes to major decisions that can alter the course of your life and cost you a lot of money, such as moving or having kids.

I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I didn’t know that intuitively! But I think I was letting anxiety and outside expectations from various influences like society and family drive my decision-making. My emotions were determining the direction I decided to head in instead of logic and sound reasoning. I’ve also realized that my family has a pretty impulsive decision-making style, which may be part of why I’ve struggled in this area.

Although not everyone has to agree with your decisions, it’s probably a red flag if lots of people in your life tell you something is a bad idea. I’m trying to listen to this feedback more and hold myself to higher decision-making standards.

Holding Myself to Higher Decision-Making Standards

After this “aha” moment, I resolved to hold myself to higher decision-making standards, which has helped me sort out my goals and priorities. During this process my partner and I have been discussing what our shared goals are. And we’ve realized that having children actually isn’t as high up on our list as we thought.

Don’t Feel Enough of a Pull to Have Kids

As of yet, we haven’t felt a strong enough pull to have children. It doesn’t seem like either of us would regret not expanding our family. And if you’re going to take on the $250,000+ expense of having a child, you need to feel a deep longing for family life to justify going down that path.

Through therapy I realized that I might have been planning for kids because it’s the next step on the “traditional” life path. I’m not sure why I’ve clung so tightly to the traditional path, but it’s something that came up over and over again in therapy. Holding ourselves to higher decision-making standards is helping my partner and I understand what we really want versus what we were taught to want, or “supposed” to want.

Barriers to Having Kids

There are also many barriers in the way of having kids. Every doctor I’ve spoken to said I would have trouble conceiving due to my medical history. Fertility treatments would greatly add to the already high cost of having a child. And after watching videos of IVF journeys on YouTube, I don’t think that’s something I’m interested in pursuing.

Plus, I’m not sure what caused my various medical issues. One of my specialists thought I may have some kind of genetic abnormality that led to all my health problems, and I would absolutely hate to pass that on to a child knowing how much I’ve struggled.

If we ever feel the pull to have children, we haven’t completely ruled out the idea of fostering kids someday, although we’re still leaning no on that. We’ve also discussed other ways to help the next generation besides raising new humans. We’re both interested in the idea of being a Big Sibling through the Boys and Girls Club in our area.

If Not Kids, What Are Our Goals?

Paying off our home is still one of our life goals, which we’re going to continue to do. But we’ve also realized we want to save and invest more heavily and make that a bigger chunk of our financial pie. That’s caused us to reroute some of our mortgage overpayments to savings in the past couple of months, as I mentioned in the last post. Then after we feel like we’ve gotten a handle on liquid savings, we’re going to shift those funds to investing, probably in a Roth IRA.

We’re both homebodies who don’t enjoy traveling in the traditional sense. But during our conversations we’ve realized how much we both value nature. Someday we’d love to see natural sights that are a bit further away from us, such as the Grand Canyon and the Badlands. But right now we want to explore our own area more and maybe try our hand at camping this year as an affordable way to vacation and enjoy nature.

Trying to Apply Better Decision-Making Every Day

I’m also trying to apply better decision-making to everyday situations and purchases. If I don’t have a good enough reason for buying something, it needs to go back on the shelf. Small, habitual purchases can add up to be bigger expenses. Left unchecked, little budget leaks can derail you.

I’m not perfect, but I can definitely see now that every time I buy something not strictly necessary, it’s a detour that distracts from the main goals I’m trying to pursue. So I need to have a very good reason for deviating from the budget I’ve set in service of the goals my spouse and I have agreed upon. And most of the justifications my brain comes up with to try and get me to buy something are BS! I’m getting better at identifying good reasons versus BS justifications and am going to keep working on it. 

How do you go about making good decisions and setting goals and priorities in your life? I’d love to hear your tips.

Read More 

Life Insurance Decisions

Large Purchase Decisions

Travel Decisions

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