Decision Paralysis (Less is More)

Does this ever happen to you? You have a whole host of options available to you, and just the sheer number of choices makes you just stop? I’ve been there, and I’ve blown some opportunities because of not knowing what to choose. This particular weekend, I’m in the midst of something I haven’t experienced since the establishment of the Briske family: down time at home by myself. Yes. Down time. At home. By myself. Nobody is there, and there’s nothing on the schedule.

So, as I was anticipating this time and contemplating how I would spend a Saturday and Sunday on my own, I had a lot of ideas. My extroverted self went right to thinking about who I would see…maybe some friends I haven’t seen in a long time, maybe a girls night out, maybe inviting friends for dinner. The options seemed endless, and my goal was to maximize my enjoyment of this time.

Then, my active self kicked in. Maybe I’d go for a long bike ride or drive to a new trail for a run. Maybe I’d get up early and go for my normal run while the family was still here, then get another workout in later on Saturday, and something else on Sunday. Adventure, here I come!

I also thought about the craziness of day-to-day life and what would be renewing and refreshing on a weekend to myself. My thoughts shifted to making this a very low key time. I love to cook and try new foods, but my family isn’t always as intrepid as I am when it comes to food. Maybe I would make some new international dishes, learn some new techniques, experiment with new ingredients. I should probably have seafood or fish, since those are not appreciated by the fam. Yes, new foods, add in some outdoor exploration, time for reading, maybe a massage, good rest. This is shaping up nicely.

As the options hovered around my imagination, I knew I was in danger of decision paralysis. You see, I’m the type of person that needs to read the whole menu at a restaurant because I want to be sure I’m ordering the meal that I will enjoy the most. I will weigh the options against one another and take care to choose wisely, even when there are numerous satisfying options.

I started whittling down to the things I love that I could do without guilt or accommodation. What I realized in this process is that I really just crave some simplicity. I think about simplifying life often. I try to focus on the things that matter. Why do there have to be so many things that matter?! Life stays busy. I decided I’d be content staying close to home, cooking, enjoying my food, reading, getting some time out in the sun, maybe watching a movie, maybe even taking some unhurried and uninterrupted time to organize my closet. That might seem like a crazy way to spend this time, but the satisfaction in it sounds appealing to me.

There are a few big ideas that crossed my mind in this decision-making process, so maybe I’ll expand on them on a later day. One thing I realized is that we are often striving for the big events in life–extravagant vacations, nights on the town, laughter with groups of friends, new adventures, accomplishing stretch goals, extravagant purchases, or indulgent outings–smiles, leisure, excess, and experiences to enjoy and share on social media.  Don’t get me wrong, there is good in those experiences, yet what I really wanted was not more, but less. Less running around, less spending, less time crunching. I didn’t want to fill up the time. At the same time, I wanted some ideas of what I would do, so I wouldn’t get stuck weighing the menu of options or scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or email while having the chance to do whatever it is I wanted. What did I land on? Some simplicity. Time to read, time to write, a pedicure, a nap, late afternoon in the coffee shop, soaking up sunshine on the deck, a walk with a friend. And what do I know about this choice? Down time is good for the mind, body, and soul.

If you’ve found your way this far in my ramblings, I hope you also have some time to just sit back and enjoy some unstructured, un-rushed, and uninhibited time of rest.

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