Over the last few months, I have been grappling with a dilemma. The “what-to-dos?” and the pros and cons, and the “perhaps-we-should-do-this-insteads” have been surprisingly stressful. I’ve considered my feelings, and my husband’s feelings, and other people’s feelings (family, friends, business associates, and people I’ve never met). I’ve looked at financial implications, and have weighed the short-term and long-term implications. My husband thinks I’m mad. I’ve lost sleep, and have ground my teeth. I’ve even shed a few tears of frustration and disappointment (though I blame other factors for 80% of that). I’ve felt guilty, and selfish, and indignant. But then I’ve also thought “life is short, why am I worrying?” Long-suffering and understanding friends I’ve confided in have been both baffled and supportive, often at the same time.
I have been almost crippled with indecision. There were so many options, and one of my strengths is also a great weakness in some situations. I can always see alternatives. There’s always an “or.” But time marches on, and a decision could not be delayed forever.
So the dilemma has been resolved. It was a dilemma of age, and a uniquely privileged First World position. I’m embarrassed to even confess what this all-consuming, stress-inducing dilemma was, lest I be seen as shallow and spoilt. (Or should I say, more shallow and spoilt than I already appear). But I need to be honest, not cowardly. And so I declare that today I finally booked flights and paid a deposit on accommodation in some of South Africa’s safari lodges and Winelands hotels, where I will celebrate a birthday ending in a zero later this year. Decisions made, commitment entered into. I feel as if a burden has been lifted. Or will be, once we’ve paid off the Visa card.