Me: Here’s the thing Barkley, I backed out of another decision. I know. I know. I do that often. Why you ask? I don’t know.
Me: Yeah, you’re right. I don’t fully know because it’s just a complicated question with complicated answers. Maybe the reasons aren’t important. Maybe they are.
Barkley sits waiting.
Me: You’re not going to let me get away with just that huh? I’m glad you keep me honest. I think I struggle with decisions because I have this Betsy-brain. It’s beautiful, and creative, and funny, and ADHD. With the ADHD part, my mind goes through the many, many, possibilities and repercussions of a decision.
Barkley tilts his head.
Me: Not understanding huh? Let me try to give you a simple example. You know I want to paint the front door, right? I have this vibrant blue picked out in my head. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet because I’m asking myself a lot of questions. Does this blue go well with the gray? Will it pop? Do I leave the white around the door untouched? Will that make the white trim look dull? Do I want to go with blue on the outside since I have so much inside my house? Why am I also drawn to a purple or red door? And….a biggie….does the blue look too Chicago Cubs’ blue which I am trying to disassociate myself with the team now that I am no longer a fan?
Barkley stretches his body out in front of me.
Me: I know. It is exhausting. I feel like a marathon runner with all these questions trotting through my brain. No wonder I give up sometimes. Take the door, for instance. I know I can always repaint the door. It’s not permanent, but I’m drained by all the questions, and,as of last week, I’ve decided not to paint the door. Not yet. Too tired with deciding. You know?
Barkley scratches behind his ears.
Me: Don’t think too hard. You can only see in black and white anyway, or so “they” say. How would “they” know? Did a talking dog tell them? And if a talking dog did tell them, how would a talking dog know if he doesn’t know color? Think about it.
Barkley raises a look at me, then shoots it down to the floor.
Me: Right? Deep. Anyway, this is how my brain works often. Ricocheting from one topic to another like a bird trapped indoors. And with decisions, like planning a trip, or deciding on a meal, or making a purchase, I just want to find an answer that can be my escape. Do you know it took me an two and half hours going through Airbnb for a trip I may or may not go on? Or fifty-five minutes to pick out jeans for the fall? That’s why I have for always hated going shopping. Not only the decision, but the trying on clothes? Forget about it. Peter, you know my late husband, used to tell me I think too much. He did always state the obvious.
Barkley plops his body on the wooden floor.
Me: Yeah, get comfortable because I’m on a roll here. ADHD is huge part of my exhaustion with decisions. As I learn more about ADHD in adults, in adult women, I am connecting dots like a Pointillistic painting. You know, George Seurat? The artist who painted Sunday in the Park with George all in dots? That’s how I am beginning to see my life now – as these dots connecting from my past and my present with a bigger, vibrant, picture emerging. With Peter gone, I see my dots. Peter’s not longer there blocking them because I permitted him to block my view. I don’t blame everything on ADHD, but there is so much that makes sense because of it.
Barkley places his too-tiny-for-his-body head on his paws.
Me: When Peter was still part of my life, he made most of the decisions in our marriage. I allowed it. It was easier. he didn’t waffle. Once he did his research, he made his decision and there was no second guessing. It was very refreshing, and needed, because it took so much off me. But now, with him gone, I’m learning how to make decisions. I know that seems silly, to learn how to make a decision, but here I am…a novice in training. And part of my education is by trial and error.
Barkley pushes air through his nose.
Me: Oh, don’t get me wrong. Since Peter died, I made some great decisions and I’m finding out I’m not horrible at it. I mean, there’s this house, the car, the design, the books I published….I even got two tattoos which I can’t change my mind about. I don’t want to change my mind about. Of course, then there is you. You were the easiest of my decision. I’m also finding out it’s okay to change my mind.
Barkley’s tail thumbs on the ground.
Me: Sorry. Not about you. I won’t change my mind about you, ever, but I am learning it is okay to change my mind about other things. How I see it changing my mind is like redirecting my life, or parts of my life. These redirections will help me grow in my experiences as it weeds out the what I don’t want’s from what I do that might choke me. So it’s good to change course. Life is ever-evolving. Even when I decide not to do anything, I am still making a decision, right? Think about that, Barkley. Deciding not to do anything is a decision. I have to get comfortable with that thought.
Barkley lifts a look up my way and then stares back at the ground.
Me: Was your mind just blown too? I know! And I have to keep remembering, most decisions I make or don’t make, change or not change, won’t ruin my life or even nick it. I have successfully made the most important ones. Sure, it’s frustrating at times. Sure, I miss Peter’s ability to take over and allow me the comfort to follow. Yet I know I’m in the lead now and I’ll get there, wherever there is for me. You know, Barkley?
Barkley gets up and puts his front paws on me. His bulging, alien eyes burrow into me to touch my heart.
Me: Thank you Barkley. Before this little chat, I was kind of hard on myself. I get a little critical of the emerging me, sometimes. I have to remember, it has only been two years and some months since Peter died. I’m undoing habits I had for over thirty years. It’ll take time and talking things out, and seeing those eureka moments will help. You have helped me. You’re a good listener, Barkley. You stay focused when you listen and you —
Barkley jumps up to bark at, and follow, a moth.
Me: It’s okay, Mr. BA. I get you. I get you, Barkley.