Saturday, February 2, 2013

Second Guessing Myself

Decisions to be made.... huge, life-changing decisions being made quickly... no sitting on the fence. Two helpful conversations with my OA support team (that's what I'm calling two members of my Overeaters Anonymous group) today... and now writing about it. Here are the topics:

What will it cost me emotionally?
The illusion of being cared for...

The situation is this. My husband and I have filed for divorce.

Time: We want to live apart. We both want the change to happen as soon as possible. He will remain in the home we have; I will move. We agree on this.

Options: I do not want to move twice. Therefore, I do not want a temporary living situation, such as a short-term rental. Having owned my own place for 40 years of my life, I do not want to rent. Therefore, I made a firm decision to buy a home or possibly a condo. I wish to be moved by the end of March.

Possibility A: I live on an island. It is a great community which feels very safe to me. My good friends, doctor, dentist, OA group, beading/quilting/fiberarts groups, and my local internet provider are all here. I found an affordable home to buy, but it is not conventional and it is not real estate. It is a manufactured home. The rent per month to keep it in the Manufactured Home Park (very nice place), is fairly high. Resale is difficult and can take 2-3 years.

Possibility B: A 1-hour ferry ride away from "my" island, on the mainland, there is a small city with a full-service hospital and many other amenities. I like it there and can see myself living there. I found a nice home for sale in a small, attractive, developed community. The Home Owners Association dues cover ALL outside maintenance (roof, paint, landscaping). 

My choice: I listed all the pros and cons of these two places in writing. They are very evenly balanced, the good of one balancing the bad of the other. Finally, the plus of staying physically close to my friends/community and the comparative ease of a local move tipped the scales toward the home here (A).

Offer on island home: So I made an offer, which was accepted. I had it inspected, and received the report yesterday. There are a few non-major problems which need to be addressed.

Second guessing myself: As soon as I made the offer, I began to question if the off-island home (B) might be a better deal. I fretted for a while. But, after reviewing the pros and cons list, I returned to the same card that tipped the scales in the first place. Then the offer was accepted. Another round of second guessing. Again the importance of my friends and community tipped the scale toward A. Now today, I'm looking at the inspection report and yet another round of angst is with me, which is why I'm writing this post. To write is one of the best OA tools for me. And all of this is making me want to give up my abstinence, even chocolate, the most addictive fix for me.

OA supporters say:  This morning I talked with two members of my OA group, both of whom are clear-thinkers, grounded, and good listeners. Both asked good questions and brought up several points I didn't consider previously. One of them said this:

It's an illusion that I will be taken care of in home B.

The significant word is "illusion." Yes, the outside of the home and property is taken care of for a modest monthly HOA fee. But does that mean I am being taken care of? Does that sustain me? She suggests that friends and community are what sustain a person, not lawn mowing and exterior home maintenance. I think she is right. I would build new friendships, find a  new Dr., and join new groups if I move off the island... but it would take time, and it would leave me more or less alone at a time of stress (divorce).

The other OA friend said this:

It all boils down to, "What will it cost me emotionally to leave the island?"

The significant phrase is "cost me emotionally." The emotional cost, in his opinion, outweighs other cost considerations such as resale value, monthly payments, and costs of exterior upkeep.

Trump Card: Shall I let go of Possibility B? Shall I recognize and respect my strong need for stability of community at this time? Shall I let that card trump all of the others, and stop second guessing myself, go with the current offer and make it work? Can I get off the fence and go with it? Yes, I can.... But, will I? 


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PS. The above conversations with OA members were outside of and not related to the OA meeting. Confidentiality is not being breached here.


  1. it's a tough one. there must be something drawing you to considering life outside of the insulated island. I know you've thrown the rental idea out as an option , but what are the pluses and minuses of that? outside the box thinking from what you already said. Is there some cute cottage that might come on the market that would make you regret the manufactured home?

    On the otherhand, I know from having lived as a travel nurse with short term assignments in different cities that having community is important. In some places, I developed immediate friends and support. = better experience. In other places, I just didn't make the same kind of connections. But I still had great, memorable experiences there too.

    The question is what do you really need?. And if you need it now, will you regret it in 6 months? Your friends on the island probably have a better feel for this. Oy!

    1. Thanks, PJ, for taking the time to share your thoughts. Keep in mind I'm 70 years old... thus part of the decision involves aging comfortably. Moving now and moving again in an indefinite time is not an attractive option. Like you, I can make friends, get involved, and have memorable experiences wherever I am... I just know from when I moved here that it takes time to develop. Of course, when I moved here, my full attention was directed toward my husband... without that it might have gone faster. Oy is right...

  2. What good, kind and wise friends you have.

    Recently I was deciding something (nothing anywhere remotely as important as your decision, but the principle will still apply) and I was telling my husband about it. He stopped me, and asked me "why" I was choosing thus and so... was it a fear-based decision?? Aaagh.. I hadn't even realized it until he asked if I was afraid of something.

    I remembered that last year I was learning about the principle to not make decisions based on fear. And I changed my mind, and am glad, and have peace.
    I also learned recently that Peace can be the "umpire", the key component in decision making. If I lose it, I'd better slow down... and if there is fear, ask myself why.

    If I had felt peace about a decision, and knew it was the right one, and later the second guessing sneaks in, like you described, is it valid? Or just fear trying to steal from me. When I trust, and let go of the fear, the peace returns if it, indeed, was the right choice in the first place.

    Ha ha, sorry for the rambling...

    I know you will make a choice that is right for you. We can never predict the future... just trust that we will be okay, no matter what. May God bless you with wisdom in your decision making, Robin.

    1. You are sooooooo right, Retta... Why? and What am I fearful about? are both very important considerations. Thanks so much for this insight (definitely NOT rambling). I'm going to write some "morning pages" about that... see where it goes. Also thanks for your blessings and vote of confidence. Wow! Trust that it will be OK... what a concept!

  3. Taking off from what Loretta said, May GOD bless you with wisdom in your decision. What I have found within second guessing is 1. fear as Loretta mentioned but also the struggle from a grasping for that security and safety too tightly to truly hear the wise voice within. Asking your friends, writing, morning pages are all awesome ways to relieve stress but maybe a trip off the island to sit quietly near the water and talk to your best supporter. Maybe buying a house right now either place is the illusion of security and safety, since that is where you were BEFORE you moved into your husband's place. I understand not wanting to move again, but perhaps you could find something furnished (didn't you say you had to buy furniture) and give yourself a "vacation" for a few months in a furnished cottage or apartment before the solid decision. Anyway it goes, it is the nature of us to second guess, but again as Loretta said we can't predict the future and the decision needs to be what is best for your well being in this moment right now. xoxo hugs

    1. Hi Jules, I love your idea of sitting quietly near the water, talking without words to my best supporter. I am going to do just that. Tomorrow. For sure. Thank you and bless you. xoxo hugs back.

  4. You MUST get off the fence and make sure chocolate is on the other side...see it over there...don't need it.

    I sense that you have made the right decision on staying on the island. The fact that the the doctors etc that know you would be a huge plus for me. I can't imagine finding trust in a new doctor. Friends and the support they offer are all important. I hate to mention your age, but really, you will probably never move again so why worry about the property resale issues of a manufactured home.

    You have taken the first two steps to moving on. The worst of that is over. You are going to be just fine. And those two OA supporters will help you through whatever dilemma occurs.
    Be calm and relax. No more second guessing.
    xx, Carol

    1. Thanks, Carol. It's good to look at what has been accomplished and be glad those steps are behind me. Good insight. The chocolate is still on the other side of the fence... much gratitude for that.

  5. If you had chosen Option B, I suspect you would be second guessing the choice. The fact is it is a BIG decision and naturally you want to make the right choice.

    Difficult to do, but try to imagine that you have chosen Option B. Picture yourself and all of your belongings on the ferry leaving the island. What are your thoughts now?

    1. You are right about second-guessing either choice. I like your imagination exercise. The short answer is, "I feel both fearful and excited at the same time; also sad and happy at the same time. Maybe that's why the fence is so high.

  6. Personally, I'd ask "What will it cost me emotionally to STAY on the island?" Your husband will be there, IN YOUR HOUSE! You will be somewhere else, but still quite nearby. I'm not sure I would have given up my house and studio, but you know what's best for you. I'm certain I would never accept living in any place where I had HOA rules and fees. And I'm not sure I'd accept paying rent (and abiding by rules, again) to live in a dwelling I'd bought. I always figure that if I want to pay fees for maintenance, I'll just hire a yard service. Of course, this is me, being contrary perhaps. I'm about 10 years younger than you, and contemplating relocating to the midwest or rust belt, with lower housing costs and (ugh!) cold, snowy winters. It's a leap into the unknown for my husband and me, but we're rapidly getting taxed out of our home here and if we stay, it will be financially unsupportable in just a few years. I can identify with the second guessing, because I'm a complete expert on that! Whatever you decide, make sure you have a feeling of rightness deep in your heart, in spite of, and beyond, any second guessing. You'll know it's there, it's a feeling of warmth and certainty, and it may be small, but it is very definite.

    1. Oh Lois, you have such spunk! I needed a dose of it, yes indeed. Thank you! I also love your optimism.

    2. Optimism? Most people think I'm pretty sour and dour. But I am always up for an adventure, and I'm ready to make big changes if it looks as if I ought to. ChangING is really hard, but the actual change... that is usually pretty exciting and good.


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