How to make big decisions?

Growing up, we need to make more big decisions that will bring different outcomes in our lives. Some decisions are difficult to make.

In the week when Little Prince was discharged from his first hospitalization, I learned first hand about the risks of birth methods for Little Princess. On 20160809, a relative showed me photos of a newborn of her friend born at the same hospital where Little Prince received treatment. The photos, showing the baby suffered from a Caesarean cut, made me feeling sad. On 20160811, Honey Panda told me that the son of his good friend suffered stroke during VBAC in September 2015 [1] and now has to go for physiotherapy. His friend aspired for his son to get into their high school alma mater, but now only hopes that he can take care of his basic needs. Listening to the sad circumstance really broke my heart. The baby’s sweet elder sister was a play mate of Little Prince, who spontaneously held Little Prince’s hand in Xmas 2014. The awareness made us realize that both C-section and VBAC are risky for Little Princess, which will be due in September 2016.

For women who value both family (especially children) and career (for financial independence [2] and self-fulfillment), there are often times we have to prioritize. For me, it seems clear that I prioritize our children over my career. In late summer 2016, spending every day with Little Prince is precious, in an exchange of ~ USD 380 per calendar day. On 20160814, Little Prince declared that he would like to participate in a storytelling competition. We support him with our encouragements and efforts to be better storytellers ourselves. As long as he has put the efforts, it does not matter if he wins or has not won [3], his own initiative itself is a motivating factor for a little toddler. Both successes and failures are important for life.

To make big decisions that affect life,

  1. pray (meditate)
  2. reflect on and adhere to our live values
  3. consider multiple alternatives
  4. weigh the pros and cons: document them so that we will have no regret in the future, create spreadsheets for easy comparisons
  5. consider short-term (1 week, 1 month, 1 year down the road) and long-term (e.g. when we are in our 40s, 50s, 60s, …, and 100s)
  6. simplify to prioritize

[1] The VBAC was performed by the most famous VBAC obstetrician in the country, but the fluctuating fetal distress still went under radar. According the Honey Panda’s friend, the obstetrician only came during the final stage of labor, whereas I learned that VBAC requires constant monitoring.

[2] I appreciate being financially independent so that

  • I can support my family (parents, siblings, and relatives) if necessary,
  • our parents, our children and I can eat whatever I deem nutritious and delicious,
  • I can travel to wherever I dream of,
  • our children and I can learn things we are passionate about,
  • we have savings that give us the peace of mind in the events that we need to spend more time together and I am not working temporarily.

[3] 是非成败转头空,青山依旧在,几度夕阳红。On 20161210, through my Summer 2016 research host, I learned that even Nobel Laureate such as Paul Nurse had failed, more than once, in certain areas. He failed a very elementary French exam six times and defended that “it’s not like I wasn’t trying, but I am completely incompetent at languages.”

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