• Laurie Bell

Analysis Paralysis?



I admit that I did not originally coin this term but it’s a condition that I see a lot. Analysis paralysis is the state of over-analyzing, or over-thinking, a situation so that a decision is never made and action is never taken.

Change is difficult and admittedly more than a little scary.   We sometimes start off genuinely considering the pros and cons of staying put or making a move but, all too soon, our thinking becomes circular, especially when we are awake at 3:00 am and there are questions going around and around and around in our minds.  We agonize over “What if” questions and not coming to a decision ultimately becomes the decision… .

Does this strike a chord? “Should I stay or should I go?” can and should be considered carefully but overthinking everything consumes a lot of time and energy… .

I get it.  No one wants to make a move too soon.  Family members and friends all seem to have a different opinion and it seems that no one can agree on much of anything.  The path of least resistance can be to simply stay put and hope for the best… .

So time goes by.  Friends and neighbours begin to move away, family dynamics can have more than their share of drama and then, sooner or later, folks find themselves living in only three rooms instead of the eight or ten that they used to enjoy. Still it can be all too easy to maintain the status quo and avoid making those tough decisions.

Then, if you’re one of the lucky ones, the Universe is gentle and there is only a minor crisis in your life – perhaps a small stumble on the stairs or some concern over an upcoming driver’s exam.  

At that point a move to a condo or a retirement residence seems to offer the right solution and, with some trepidation, a decision is made to move.  A suitable retirement residence or a condo is found and everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief.

Not so fast!  More tough questions begin to emerge:  “What to take? What to sell? What to give away? What to do with what’s left over?” A lot of personal items can accumulate over the years and it can be daunting to face that kind of process on your own.  “Measurements are taken, furniture choices are made, but what to do with the contents of all those cupboards, drawers, closets, cabinets, basement shelves, garages and storage lockers that are filled to capacity?”

Memories, some good and some, honestly not so great, are everywhere and how do you cope with all of the emotional attachments?  Well, for some folks, the easiest thing is to slow everything right back down at this point.

We rationalize.  “I can do this later or my kids can go through everything once I’m gone… .” I recently worked with a lovely woman in her mid-eighties who uttered those very words during our first session together.  With a little gentle exploration Jean shared that she loved her kids too much to leave them with all of her accumulated collections.   She told me that she appreciates her independence too.  She’d been doing well on her own for years and her mind was still sharp even if her body wasn’t quite as co-operative these days… .

This client had items in her basement that she had inherited along the way and she knew that her family didn’t want most of these things.  She couldn’t bring herself to get rid of them before but we made plans together to donate some and to sell others.  We took photos to preserve her important memories and we chose the best of the best of the items that make her smile and we professionally packed those for her. They now hold a place of honour in her new decor instead of being tucked away inside a box in a cupboard where they hadn’t seen the light of day for decades… .

This lovely lady told me that she couldn’t have faced it all without me.  Whether it is analysis paralysis or avoidance or a fear of change, it is tough to face a downsizing project and a major move without knowledgeable, sensitive and objective support.  She was grateful that she got to make all of her own decisions and, by using our services, she wasn’t putting a burden on her busy family.

Jean was also delighted with her seamless transition.  Packing was done in one day and her unpack and set-up were completed the next day.  Her towels were hanging in the bathroom and her art was installed on the walls.  My now rested client began to consider which bridge group she’d join.  These decisions didn’t feel so overwhelming… .

Jean, like many of my other older clients, only wondered why they had waited so long to make the decision to move in the first place.

The good news is that you don’t have to face it all yourself either.  We can tailor senior move management solutions that are right for you and your situation and we can help you to manage any reoccurring bouts of analysis paralysis! 

If you believe that your contacts may find this helpful, please share and visit us at www.movingseniorswithasmile.ca