Monday, February 21, 2011

Paralyzed by possibilty

I know three things for sure. One, I am alive. Two, I will not be alive forever. Three, everything in between is just a long series of choices that I make.

Given those parameters, and a little bit of perspective, I am tempted to wonder why the day to day often seems so challenging, when, from 40,000 feet, it feels like it should be simple. I’m lucky enough to wake up in the morning; I make a series of choices, and then I’m lucky enough to lie down in my bed at night again. Day after day after day.

Things are constantly happening around me, and I, in turn, make choices based on that. I’m constantly choosing. This or that? Here or there? In or out? And so it goes.

Are the choices I make really any different from each other? It feels like they are. I categorize them into big and little, important and trivial, immediate and long term. Sleep in or go to the gym? Brown clogs or black? Honey yogurt or plain? MBA or MPH?

I lied. I know four things. The fourth is that this dizzying array of possibility is completely paralyzing to me on a regular basis.

If you had nothing better to do I could bore you with the whys of truth number four, but I’m sure you have places to go, things to do, decisions to make.

I’m envious that you can make decisions without employing a panel of experts, or spending the day Googling your options (and seeing what’s new on Etsy and Twitter), or needing to retreat to a dark quiet place so your brain will stop smoking. I can’t seem to get there.

I have too many options. Take grocery shopping. If I am in hurry, don’t have a list, or am suffering from low blood sugar, it is all I can do to exit the store with both products and my sanity. Somewhere in the cereal aisle it all starts to fall apart for me. Whole wheat? Whole grain? Brown sugar? Cane Sugar? Stevia? Mommmmmmmy!

I don’t want all those choices. I don’t want to have to weigh all those freaking options. Good for my wallet but bad for the landfill? Good for my health but bad for my kids’ college fund? Organic but not local….local but not organic….low spray and from only two states away. I’m freaking exhausted just trying to get out of the produce aisle after all these decisions. I can’t figure it out, and if I stop to try to employ technology to help me WHILE I’m shopping, Dear Lord, you’ll find me in a crumpled heap in the middle of the dairy aisle.

If technology wanted to be REALLY helpful, someone could develop an app whereby I would enter all of the details of my life, including neuroses, and then I could just point my phone at things and the app would do the decision making for me! It would weigh my financial parameters, environmental factors, time constraints, life goals, etc and it would spit out answers for me. Store brand unsalted, roasted almonds in glass jar at 5.79 actually a better deal than the bulk shi-shi almonds in the plastic bag with the twisty tie considering that the store brand come from America and the shi-shi almonds come from Chile, so the fossil fuel factor is significant, in spite of the price difference. Plus the app would confirm for me that no where else in town had almonds any cheaper, so I could spare myself the angst that maybe I should just not buy these now and try another store later. That would save me 10 minutes of mental wrangling right there on that single transaction.

I can’t believe I used to enjoy shopping. I have to be medicated now, just to navigate the parking lot.

I realize I’m rambling. But that’s just what crazy people do when they have too many choices. See???

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