Friends, we had to have “the talk.” 

I had to break the news.

It happened like this: One of my teen people was feeling extra chatty today, so there’s a full moon or something.

And this teen was also in a FANTASTIC mood, so I’m sure when I wake up tomorrow that the HVAC is going to go kaput or the transmission will fall out of a vehicle I own because the universe simply does not work this way.

You see, said teen was processing some really mature things in near-adult fashion while I held my pee because it is critically important to not break the my-teen-sought-me-out-for-a-meaningful-conversation spell, even if your eyeballs are floating.

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And somewhere in the middle of all this very good stuff—the kind of stuff where this teen was processing just how alike or how different this teen’s path could be from other teens and other paths and eventually other adults and adult paths—this teen dropped this gem on me:

“Mom, I’m just tired of making HARD decisions.”

And it happened.

We had to have the talk.

I had to break the news.

“Teen,” I replied, “I have a very adult thing to share with you. Are you ready? Here goes . . .”

*takes deep breath*

“Teen, you will ALWAYS have HARD decisions to make, no matter how alike or how different your path.”

And that’s just the plain truth.

Because if you’re wise enough to reflect on the paths in front of you and vulnerable enough to trust someone to help you navigate, you better believe you deserve honesty in return.

It’s a tough but relentless adult truth that we will always face hard decisions, no matter our paths.

Some days, hard decisions are fully-leaded or diet soda.

Some days, hard decisions are who says sorry first.

Some days, hard decisions are how to care for Mom.

And some days, it’s a hard decision to respect another’s hard decision.

The thing about hard decisions is they never stop coming.

I mean sure, we get respites every once and a while, but hard decisions are an inevitable fact of life.

Friends, sometimes making hard decisions can feel a little lonely, a lot overwhelming.

And while some paths may throw more hard decisions your way than others, you aren’t alone on your journey.

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We are all on some path, and we are all making some hard decisions along with all the easy ones.

Often, we can course-correct, and sometimes the way forward is clear, but seldom is the regret we feel for the hard decisions we have the courage to honestly make.

Keep wrestling.

Keep being thoughtful.

Keep making hard decisions.

Even if your path is different.

Especially if your path is different.

I promise, there’s just enough room for the hard decisions among the many no-brainers in this life.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Whitney Westbrook

Whitney Westbrook writes about navigating midlife, mostly with grace. Because midlife is relentless and irreverent, and because we should all talk about it out loud more. Follow her for more misadventures and insights on all things midlife at So Very Whitney