It’s the thing that makes you sweat, that makes a knot form in your gut. The quickening of your thumping heartbeat, and the tension in your jaw.

The D.

No, not that D. Get your mind out of the gutter.

D for decisions. Big D’s, small D’s, some memorable and some not so much. Decisions. Everybody dreads ‘em. To be stuck between proverbial pathways in the woods, with no idea of what happens once you choose one.

But for people like us, decision making now has a whole new importance. We’re at that point in our lives where we shake off adolescence to begin life as a mature, responsible Adult™.

And with all this newfound, super cool freedom and responsibility, is a gigantic shitload of ridiculously important decisions that absolutely suck.

Pressure cooker, much?

We’re picking subjects for our final years of high school, dropping out of school to work, go to TAFE or do whatever else. We’re picking universities, moving out, changing courses, moving in and travelling. All these new and exciting things are happening, which means a lot of choices.

The world is our oyster, we’re told. But what they fail to mention is that this particular oyster is bloody enormous, and that we’re all expected to know exactly what we want to do forever by the ripe old age of approximately 17.

Yeah nah, not happening.

But there’s this pressure, anyway. ‘Go to uni,’ your teachers say. ‘Do this degree,’ suggest your parents. ‘Come with us,’ say your friends.

Everybody puts their two cents in when you say ‘I don’t know,’ and suddenly you’ve got a piggy bank bursting with input. If only ‘you’ll figure it out,’ could be cashed as a cheque. Then we could all go to Bali for the summer.

We feel alone in these life changing decisions. All these gigantic, wrecking ball choices, and if we choose wrong, it might just ruin everything. The worst bit is that everyone else seems to be having the time of their bloody lives. Everyone else’s instas are aesthetic magic and they’re cruising through their daily lives without a care in the world, while you’re playing a game of mental Twister in the corner.

But looks can be deceiving (trust me). Just because someone has been posting pics from Fiji schoolies doesn’t mean they’ve got a plan for what happens after the flight back. And yeah, someone might have an internship, a job and a degree, but they’re about 30000% done with all of it.

They don’t have it all figured out; behind the social media posts, edgy memes and weekly brunches, they’re just as uncertain as you are. They’re quietly mulling over their options, trying to decide what’s the right fit for them. And desperately hoping they don’t screw it up in the process.

We all look over our shoulders and compare ourselves to others, and don’t see the part where the person we compare ourselves to is just as fucking scared and clueless as we are.

TL;DR, here’s the good shit

1. Listen to your family and friends

…but don’t let them take the reins. They can tell you how to run the race, but ultimately you’re the one lacing up your Nikes, so it’s all up to you.

2. Don’t look too far ahead

Have loose goals, sure, but making a 57 Step Plan to Confirmed Success Within Ten Years is not gonna work. Only make the decisions you have to make right now. The rest will come in time.

And yeah, there might be some false starts. You could get it wrong. A friend studied journalism with me, but dropped out two months in. She works full-time in childcare now and couldn’t be happier.

3. Don’t put off decisions

You can’t sit still at a set of traffic lights when they’ve gone green. Weigh it all up, the pros and cons and then, shove it all off the table and go with your gut because the person who knows you best is you. That little seed of intuition in your belly will guide you (as long as you’re not halfway through Goon of Fortune, ofc).

*Cue the cheesy, inspirational music*

There’s gonna be millions of D’s throughout your life and the ride isn’t always smooth. But all dick jokes aside, you’re gonna be okay, trust me.

by Kaitlyn Hudson-O'Farrell