OPN 190912 HORSE-1568285723650
The most crucial part after falling off a horse is getting straight back on Image Credit: Supplied

Falling off a horse for the first time was one of the strangest experiences of my childhood. I remember so distinctly that one minute, the sky was up and the ground was down, and in the next moment in a violent twist my whole perspective began to shift, stopping only when I finally made abrupt contact with the ground. In utter confusion, I realised that the horse, which I was just sitting on, was no longer under my legs, and instead I was on the floor. I think I must have laughed; it was so quick and so absurd, but thankfully I wasn’t hurt.

The most crucial part after falling off a horse is getting straight back on. Obviously, this depends on how hurt you are, but if you don’t, it means that next time, you might not get back on the horse out of fear of getting thrown off. If you’re in pain and not wanting to go near the horse that has probably hurt both you and your pride, this can be incredibly challenging. But without doing it, you might never come back from it.

The idea of getting back in the saddle is applicable to almost every aspect of life. Rejection is horrible and can often be debilitating, but it’s not defining. What you take from it and how you move on is often what matters.

I am a perfectionist. Whilst this is both a blessing and curse, it means that I am especially keen to avoid rejection. But this also means that I don’t allow myself to make mistakes, and subsequently don’t allow myself to go through the process of getting back in the saddle, which unfortunately, is essential for personal growth.

Making mistakes is hard, and if you hold yourself to unrealistically high standards, it’s even harder. This has become especially apparent to me over the last few months, where I have come to learn that I am utterly horrendous at making decisions. Struggling to decide over futile matters is one thing, because the consequences aren’t defining or at all significant to your future. However, when you’re embarking on your final year of school and it’s now time to make crucial decisions on the direction of your life, it’s often downright debilitating.

Spoilers ahead

My usual method of handling this difficulty is to procrastinate any and all decisions until a more appropriate time presents itself. Spoilers ahead — a more appropriate time never shows itself. Instead, I’m left wondering where the time disappeared to and am infinitely more stressed about the time running out. Unfortunately, if you follow this method, there comes a point where your hand is forced, and you have to make a decision. This can be both a good and a bad thing.

What often scares us the most is whether or not we’re making the right decision. Everyone wants to make the right decision, but it’s often hard to know what that is, and then you’re left torn between what you want to do, or what you should do. I’m of the opinion that when deciding on your future, the right decision is never clear, but it’s important to hope that all of the pieces will eventually fall into place.

People of all ages, but especially young people, are put under constant pressure not to make mistakes and to make the right decisions. Often, this pressure can stop decision making altogether, right or wrong.

Mistakes, albeit horrendous at the time, can help you grow. If you put too much pressure on yourself, like me, it’s quite hard to forgive yourself for making a mistake. The future is in your hands, but don’t let that hold you back — your decisions don’t define you, unless you let them. To refer back to my earlier metaphor: if you’re too afraid to fall off the horse, you’ll never get on it.

Nina Mul is a student based in Dubai