Undecided

Last Friday’s Plinky prompt was “What are you indecisive about?” It seems a perfect topic to blog about, because to begin with, I can be indecisive about which answer to choose to answer the question, there can be so many.

Sometimes I’m indecisive because there are so many choices. My husband complains that I am always the last to place my order when we eat out. That’s because there are just so many good things to choose from, and eating out is a rare treat. How do I decide which wonderful dish(es) to try, knowing that it means not getting any of the others?

(That’s what’s so great about potlucks. I don’t have to choose only one or two dishes, I can take a small sample of a dozen or more.)

That’s also one reason I have trouble doing my grocery shopping quickly. Which breakfast cereal to choose? Which variety of granola bars? Which flavors of yogurt? Even something like hot dogs comes in several varieties – regular (which these days means made of turkey, pork, and chicken), bun length, all beef, cheese dogs, fat-free (I’ve never tried these – if I wanted fat-free I wouldn’t buy hot dogs), jumbo, and perhaps more.

Sometimes I’m indecisive because it means spending money, and I’m not sure whether the purchase is worth the money, or which of two (or more) alternatives is really the best buy. I’d just as soon put off the decision, and keep the money in the bank, as long as I can.

Sometimes I’m indecisive because there don’t seem to be any good options available. The 2008 presidential election was an example of that. I did not want to vote for either the Democrat or Republican ticket, but I wasn’t sure what third party candidate I really wanted to support either.

In the end, of course, I did decide and I did cast my vote. As in the end, I always do decide on something. (Of course, deciding to delay a decision sometimes rules out all the options I had been considering, but if I were unwilling to let that happen I would have decided earlier.) I pick a meal, I pick a shirt, I pick a movie.

My mother couldn’t seem to make decisions even when it did matter. Every time she had to pack for vacation, it took her hours (usually all day), because she couldn’t decide what to take and what to leave. I was amazed, as a young adult, to realize how easy it was to pack for a trip, knowing that even if I left something behind, it really wasn’t all that big a deal. So sometimes I have had to buy pantyhose, or toothpaste – one time even a pair of shoes. (I think I spent about ten minutes – if that much – packing this evening for our weekend trip to Michigan to pick up our older son from college.)

And when I have to decide which way to go when I’m driving, I decide – even if I’m not sure which is the right way. I’ve never forgotten the time my mother kept asking my father whether to go right or left when a highway split – and when he didn’t answer in time we went straight – into the concrete barrier between the two.

But when I don’t have to decide, it’s nice being able to enjoy lots of choices. Just think how many different topics I manage to find to blog about…

(I was going to get into the question of whether to decide on a particular view among competing views in the area of theology – there are lots of those. But my husband reminded me that we have to get up early to get on the road by 6 AM, and therefore we should get to bed early. So I decided to stop here.)

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