I haven’t posted in several weeks because I’m going through what can only be described as an Ah Shit! Crisis.

What is an Ah Shit! Crisis, you ask? Well, it’s tangle of converging crossroads, made up of a premature midlife crisis, mixed with an overdue quarterlife crisis. It’s a Gen Y crisis blended with a Gen X crisis (thanks to the complicated born-between-generations crisis). On top of all this, I’m experiencing an unrelenting frizzy-hair crisis.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, because there are obviously bigger problems in the world. I’m a healthy, stable, unencumbered woman, who has a world of opportunity in front of her, yet I’m gripped with anxiety over the crossroads ahead.

Meanwhile, people are dying from preventable diseases, natural disasters are wiping out cities, and snack-happy hipsters are damaging the ocean’s delicate eco system with their insatiable fondness for Maguro sashimi. (Okay, fine, you got me. But Maguro is so tasty!) While wars persist and environmental issues mount, I’m woken at night in a cold sweat by my indecision over the MacBook Air vs. the MacBook Pro.

These are my First World problems. Please save your sympathy for the orphans and the homeless, because I know that my meltdowns are laughably insignificant.

But oh GAWHD! Oh Blerg! Ah shit!

The problem

I’ve spent the last few years writing and promoting a book while my partner has worked as a contractor, patiently waiting for me to finish my project. For 18 months now, Ivan and I have been saying, “When the book is finished, we’ll {insert plans here}.” We’ve been enthusiastically discussing options, buying How To books, and plotting intricate plans for the next big adventure.

But the trouble is, the adventure inside of those parenthesis changes on a monthly basis.

  • Bike around South America!
  • Live in New Zealand!
  • Open a winery!
  • Breed goats and manufacture goat cheese!
  • Chill out in Thailand!
  • Have an art exhibition!
  • Tour Africa in a 4WD camper!
  • Poison/stab ourselves like Romeo and Juliet, except out of frustration instead of affection!

All of these ideas inspire us (except maybe the stab/poison one), but we’ve had far too much time to think about it. Held up by the all-consuming task of writing and selling a book, we had no time left to begin doing, so all of our dreams have ended up colliding in one big ugly mess, like a multi-car pile up.

It began to seem like none of them would ever happen. While the book has dragged on, time has ticked past, patience has fizzed, and tension has built, and built, and built.

Plans kept changing from adventure to adventure, but instead of knuckling down and making a decision, I’ve been running around in Ah Shit! crisis mode.

What am I gonna do what am I gonna do?

Before we had the chance to make solid plans, the book was squared away, and my partner’s contract job finished. Then we found ourselves standing before a clusterfuck of crossroads. What now?

So we did what any loving, committed couple would do in this situation.

We fought.

Over the past six weeks, we’ve been in tense negotiations about what we should do next. Each argument has led to the same place. Do want the same things? Can we make this work? Will we ever decide, or will we just sit here arguing until old age?

Each argument has had to reach a clashing, crashing, explosive crescendo before one of us begins to giggle over the reality of the situation. We have the whole world to choose from! We have everything working for us. We’re only suffering over this because we have so many choices. How stupid! Let’s just make this work.

We move out of our rental house in less than three weeks. We’ve been selling our furniture, and reducing our life down to the basics, readying ourselves to take the next daring, crazy leap towards …

{Insert plans here}

But finally, I realized: it doesn’t matter which direction we take. We just have to make a play. Sitting around thinking, talking, and arguing endlessly about every possibility will turn our brains into mush until crazy juice begins leaking from our ears. Yuck.

As Teresa Carey says in her TED talk: “When you dream of something, instead of thinking ‘why not?’ just decide to do it and make a plan to make it work out later.”

Decide, commit, then make it work.

So a few days ago, we came to an arrangement that makes us both happy. We worked through all of the details and apprehensions, and we created a plan that inspires us both. Excited chatter has replaced the arguing, and out of a thick fog of confusion, our future is starting to appear in vivid, colorful detail.

I won’t tell you the details yet, because we’ve yet to settle the deal. But it’s pretty damn exciting. Stay tuned …

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35 Response Comments

  • Christine  January 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I’ve been like FREAKING OUT over what I’m doing next–making all sorts of charts and graphs of pros and cons and feelings–and then I went to yoga yesterday and recognized that the universe had sent me a trifecta of signs and just MADE A DECISION. It’s brilliant. I’m happy. Sometimes you just have to accept something–anything–and go with it. Personally, I’m all about the goat cheese.

    • Dave  January 28, 2012 at 12:19 am

      You know we’re A LOT alike. I keep freaking out every time a self-imposed date arrives when I feel like I should be leaving Lima to start traveling again. And then I listen to my inner Buddha, and he says, “chill out dude, and stay if you want.”

      So I’ll be in Lima through February 🙂

  • Vegemitevix  January 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    You capture the crossroads crisis perfectly, though I wonder if you needed the deadline of moving out of the house to force a decision. I know I always do.

  • Sally  January 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Gah! The suspense is killing me! I just hope you haven’t decided to do the thing with the goats. Milking a goat is NO FUN.

  • Tucker Bradford  January 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I can totally relate. When Vick and I were deciding on which path to take, we would go to the bar at Trader Vick’s, order a Mai tai for me and a bloody Mary for her. As soon as the alcohol started to kick in we would launch into pro-con list mode. Apparently it worked like a charm.

    So excited to hear what you guys chose, but I think I know.

  • Sarah  January 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Awesome – I’ve been doing this without having put words to it. Thanks for beautifully defining this crazy in-between space.

  • Hilary Rushford  January 27, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Loved this post! And headed over to watch the Ted Talk now. Thanks for sharing so openly. Great food for thought.

  • JoAnna  January 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I’m not in a current state of indecision but I am feeling overwhelmed by life right now, and that wakes me up at night. I’m sure whatever decision you make will be the right one for you at that moment (though I secretly hope you’ll be making goat cheese).

  • Lauren  January 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    We have a dilemma too, Phil won a $3000 travel voucher. It’s driving me crazy! We can go anywhere but for once in our lives, we just don’t know where.
    Great article Torre, exciting times ahead!

  • Clare  January 27, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    The paradox of choice, eh? Sometimes I think the possibilities of life are a hindrance to making a choice and moving forward; it’s certainly something that I struggle with. The key, for me, is to keep moving forward. Even if you’re taking baby steps, keep moving & trust that it will work out.

    Look forward to hearing about your plans!

  • IPBrian  January 28, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Girl, you are a hot mess! LOL! I am sure the universe will point you in the right direction. That isn’t always the easiest direction, but often the one you need the most. Have faith and all with right itself.

  • Sarah Somewhere  January 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    First world problems indeed! Though that has been my mantra for the last week too as we run around like lunatics in 40 degree heat trying to tie up loose ends before setting off on our traveling adventure. We really are lucky to have such a plethora of options at our disposal, that surely means we are truly rich! I can hardly wait to hear about your choice, though whatever it is, I’ve no doubt it will be amazing. All the best to you both x

  • Meg  January 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Can I please just tell you how much I freaking love you! I feel like when I read your stuff, I am reading about my life. But you put it all in perspective for me. I too was in your same shoes. My boyfriend and I had ALL these plans and none of them were actually “happening”…. it was causing fights between us for the very same reasons. We got out!! We finally acted on our crazy ideas and I could not be happier. We left San Diego two days ago, sold all of our stuff and we are headed to Florida for a few months and off to travel the world. That was our plan and we stuck through it….even though it took two years.

    Things will get better, you have a plan and it sounds like you are committed to making it happen. Best of luck! Can’t wait to hear the details!

  • David W  January 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    This is a perfect post for my lady and me. She suggested I follow your blog and I’m glad I do. It’s helpful for me to see the woman’s perspective on the insanity that is life and love and travel.

    So yes, decide, commit, and go for it.

  • Raymond @ Man On The Lam  January 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Are you two buying the “Bob Barker” and fighting whale pirates? I think that’s something right up your alley! 🙂

  • Carolyn  January 30, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Glad you worked it out:) We all go through those crossroads…but within each of us we have the strength to overcome and surmount whatever comes our way. Can’t wait to hear about your new adventure! Good luck!

  • yellow  January 31, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Hmmm, let me guess.

    Buy back Gracie?
    Buy a Hummer?
    Buy a Cesna?
    Buy a flat in SF?
    To be selling up that means long time overseas and no plans of coming back soon…..hmmm.

    My guess is SF and more floating on a large vesssel of water….

  • Patricia Sands  February 1, 2012 at 3:41 am

    I’ve been waiting to hear the next news. Working your way through the “clusterfuck of crossroads” (love the term, may steal it!) is part of the process and I was glad to see you and Ivan emerged more or less intact. Don’t keep us in the dark too long!
    Hope everything else is good.

  • Kim  February 1, 2012 at 4:31 am

    Ohhhh, I can’t wait to hear what the plan is.

    I understand your frustration. I want to do so many things I think I’ll need five lifetimes to do them. I want to do it all! Is such a blessed curse to have.

  • Noch Noch | be me. be natural.  February 1, 2012 at 10:04 am

    i like how you term it “ah shit crisis” ahhaha
    we go through the same thing
    we write lots of ideas down but never do
    it’s about time we do
    Noch Noch

  • Charley @Secret_Water  February 1, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Havent popped by in a while but I’m tuned in on Channel 16…
    love your combination of clusterfuck and crossroads in the same sentence. The perfect way to describe a yachtie standing at a major life crossroads!

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler  February 2, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Is it what I think it is?? Or have the plans changed since then? I feel like I’m going to be in the same boat as you when this summer comes and we actually have to make a decision as to where we are headed. I am constantly changing my mind and itinerary. It should be interesting to see where we actually end up.

  • Davis  February 3, 2012 at 2:47 am

    I hope it’s not the goats.

  • Jeremy Branham  February 3, 2012 at 5:02 am

    Torre, I can identify with you a lot right now. I am a Gen X on the fringe of Gen Y. Lately, I’ve had a bit of a crisis/revelation about my life and I am wrestling with what to do next. Granted, mine defines the fundamental essence of being a human being and I wrote a little about this as well. After a tough few weeks, things are looking up now. So good luck to you whatever direction you choose!

  • Sandra  February 7, 2012 at 4:16 am

    This is SUCH A GREAT POST!!!!

    I just found your blog today and I see I have some serious reading to do to catch up.

    I love the whole situation you find yourself in because it means you have come to the place where you can finally DO SOMETHING you want and it seems you have decided what it is – which, quite frankly, I think is secondary to the first great thing which is you can finally do SOMETHING!!!! I wish I was there. I have a dream. I desperately want to make it happen. I just need to figure out how.

    I read on another blog today a quote “leap and trust the net will appear”. I wish I could!!

  • Heidi  February 9, 2012 at 3:23 am

    THIS is me right now! I want to figure out how to relocate to NZ and find a job and live. I just have no idea where to start!

  • Pamela Karina  February 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Can I just say: ‘this is story of my life?’ (corny, I know)

    A while back I came to that conclusion that no I didn’t know which one would be the “right” choice that would help my future. What if I look back and realized, ugh, this TOTALLY sucked I should have picked XYZ? In fact, I should look as it as “I am living. I make mistakes and I also learn from them too. It’s better than doing nothing at all and tearing your hair out.”

    Great stuff! I just began reading your blog this year and have been enjoying it lots. Can’t wait to find out your big plan!

  • Ayngelina  February 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I can completely identify with this. I put a poll on my site because I couldn’t decide between two destinations, but now I find that I’m silently rooting for one over the other.

    Looking forward to see what you decide.

  • Kate  February 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I so relate!…….;)

  • Thomas Dembie  February 16, 2012 at 6:10 am

    I know the feeling. Glad to hear you finally made a decision. It’s a great dilemma to have, knowing that you’ll be doing something amazing, as long as you can make it happen and you’re both happy!

  • Svala  May 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I was so relieved to find that you guys had reached a conclusion in the end, I know far too well how this decision limbo feels in a relationship! Pheew!

  • Sky  August 5, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I’ve been feeling the exact same way, except I’m trying to figure out how exactly to balance the side of my personality that thinks I need to throw myself into school, get a 4.0, and end up triple-majoring at some fancy college and the part that just says “screw it!” and be an entrepreneur and just travel. But, luckily, the only person I’m arguing with is myself. Still, that “oh shit what am I going to do?!” feeling is NOT fun.


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