How to Make Decisions

Last weekend I needed antihistamine tablets and and excuse to leave the house, because it’s April. April is my favorite month in Philadelphia; it’s warm enough to sit outside, and the mosquitoes haven’t hatched yet.

So I headed to the pharmacy, only to discover that the allergy pills were locked behind glass, and there were no staff within a 100 yard radius or a fifteen minute wait to unlock it. I left the pharmacy in exasperation, and headed to Thunderbird Salvage, because thrift stores always cheer me up.

There was a street fair in front of Thunderbird, with an artist selling charming prints, in thrifted frames, for reasonable prices. Decades ago I made a vow that whenever I fell in love with a piece of art in my price range, I would buy it. Because I’m an artist, artists need patrons, and if I’m not living my values, who the hell am I?

“Ten of Peas, by Rachel Sinnott

At Thunderbird, I found some planters that were so perfect, I had to bring them home, even though I have more containers in my garden than can reasonably fit in their allotted space. I fit them in anyway.

Making aesthetic decisions is easy for me, because I have a lot of practice. I’ve got settled preferences (swirls! Organic forms! Preferably blue!) a finite budget (low to mid two figures!) and priorities that are aligned with my values (buy secondhand, or direct from artist).

But what if you DON’T have a lot of practice making certain kinds of decisions? How do you get better at it?

“Four of Strawberries,” by Rachel Sinnott

Answer: Your body will tell you.

It may take awhile at first. When you’re contemplating the pros and cons of any decision, ask yourself: How does my heart feel when I am sitting with this thing? How does my gut feel? How does my head feel?

PHYSICALLY, what am I feeling? Clenching or relaxation? Heaviness or lightness? Pain or excitement?

When I work with clients, I have you sit with your feelings about colors, art, furniture, layouts and alterations for as long as it takes for your body to render a verdict. It may happen immediately, or it may take weeks. It’s worth taking the time, because whatever the decision, it must be something you can LIVE WITH.

And your life is the most important thing you have.

Who could resist this? It virtually screams ‘heirloom from French country estate.’

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