When it comes to decision making, I’m a ditherer, a hand-wringer, a me-oh-my what shall I do-er. Shall it be fish or chicken for dinner? Florida or California for vacation? Walk in the neighborhood or park? Fiction or non-fiction for Sunday Scribblings? Just DO IT, my inner voice persistently chides me. To quote my high school orchestra director ~ “For god’s sake, girls, just do…SOMETHING!”
Invariably, though, once I’ve embarked on one route, I immediately start wishing I had chosen the other. “Decidophobia” it’s called, and there are a plethora of Internet cures available, from wonder drugs to hypnosis tapes.
Actually, I’m not really a phobic in the strict sense of the word. These are people who are too paralyzed by fear to perform their jobs or even get up in the morning. In truth, I move through the business of daily life with great decision…I complete all tasks promptly and on time, I attack my job responsibilities with gusto. However, I admit to being stymied by personal decisions sometimes, and occasionally this leaves me feeling as if my life were a stalled race car, desperately revving its engine but going nowhere fast.
Part of the problem is often my imagination ~my penchant if you will, for seeing too many opportunities as well as too many pitfalls. It’s like perusing the aisles at the grocery store – where once there were only Corn Flakes and Raisin Bran, now there’s Corn Flakes with strawberries, or almonds, or organic corn flakes, or low fat cornflakes, or…well, you get the picture. Life presents us with too many tantalizing choices – how’s a girl supposed to pick just one?
Therein lies my real problem with decision making, the fear that each decision is not only irrevocable, but represents an opportunity lost. There are so many things I want to experience in life, and I’m fearful that choosing one will deny me the ability to experience the other.
I really do want to sample all those flavors of Corn Flakes -I’m just impatient, and don’t want to do it one box at a time. I want to buy up every variety and sit down to a different one each morning. Similar to Forest Gump and his famous box of chocolates, I’d love to bite into each one and see what I get.
Unfortunately, decisions often mean irrevocable choices – that’s just life, too. Because I decided to buy two homes in Florida, it probably means I won’t ever be able to live in England. Because I decided to get two dogs, I probably won’t be able to travel as much as I’d like. Because I decided to go back to my school job, I won’t have as much free time to write this winter. Because I decided to have only one child, I’ll probably never have big bunches of grandchildren to comfort me in my old age. Big decisions have big consequences, and the older I get, the more dire they seem, since there’s just not as much time left to sample all of life’s varieties.
I’m afraid there’s no cure for my hand wringing, dithering, decision making dilemmas. I’ll probably always worry my way through the process, and then later on wish I’d made another choice altogether. Hopefully, the consequences won’t be too painful, and I’ll be able to accept them gracefully.