The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

Decisions – Empowering or Debilitating?

There are some overwhelming stats out there regarding the number of decisions we make each day – some estimates are as high as 35,000. While some are easy (where should I sit at the table?), others are not (where should I live?). And the more affluent we are, the more decisions we have to make as our consideration set expands. Should we give to charity and if so, how much? Which one? Or should I just volunteer? In comparison, tight budget constraints may narrow the decision making process down to chicken or beef flavored Ramen noodles for dinner. But certainly we would be more miserable if people (or *gasp*, government) told us what to eat/wear/do. Or would we?

As a lifelong public-school attendee, I was always fascinated by those that were forced to wear school uniforms and I often polled their feelings on the matter. Across the board, the guys almost always said “it’s awesome” while the girls were split – the fashionistas said they hated it, while the more pragmatic (sorry, fashion is rarely pragmatic) emphasized the amount of time it saved them each morning. This, combined with a healthy dose of dystopian fiction as of late, has me wondering about a world with less choices.

There are many examples of people and governments taking this too far. It generally is a model ending with “ism” and hasn’t worked out well for a lot of folks in modern times. And yet, there are days when I wish my nutritionally-complete meal would pop out of a hole in the wall. Days when I would like a uniform instead of staring bleakly at my many, many MANY clothing options. There is something wonderful about knowing exactly what you have to do and how to do it, but this type of serendipity seems to occur far too little in real life. To race my mountain bike, or to knit? Unbelievably, these are real dilemmas I face. Would I get more “done” if I had less options? And if achievement isn’t the goal, maybe happiness is – would ‘we’ be happier if our paths were a little bit more of a one-way road?

One Response to “Decisions – Empowering or Debilitating?”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Your contemplation is probably one of the reasons why some folks who have difficulty in their youth end up doing really well in the military. They make most of your choices for you. I would give up some of my choices if it meant that others didn’t have to make hard choices like: food or medicine? But on the whole I enjoy deciding. what was it our previous president said? “I am a decider.” Or maybe that was Will Ferrell pretending to be the presiden on SNL. :)

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