I’m indecisive. As long as I can recall, I’ve always struggled with choices and transitions. My decision ability declines with stress, and at the lowest points in my life simply grocery shopping took far too long. All those choices? Would we eat it this week? Was it healthy? Did I care? Was I spending more than I wanted to? By the time I’d made all those choices, my milk had expired.
Fortunately, that level of decision paralysis is years in the past, but I still sit on fences, too often choosing inaction over risking making a “wrong” decision. Thus, emails go unanswered as I wonder how to reply to a question or whether to attend an event. Sometimes, I wait so long that there’s no longer a choice for me to make — time has done it for me. Ugh.
Most of my indecision involves time use choices . I’m a sociable introvert: I am energized by time alone and time one-on-one or in small groups with friends. Attending large gatherings takes a good amount of energy for me, and I need to refuel with some quiet afterwards. Deciding what social events I want to manage is my largest challenge. Do I call a friend to plan coffee, or will that, combined with other obligations, leave me without a bit of time for me alone? Should I return that call now, or do I put it off and maintain the brief silence I was enjoying? I feel divided between what I want now, what I might want or need later, and what others want and need from me. I spend time internally debating what choice is ‘best’ (best for my mind, best for my heart, best for my children, best for my friends, best for my church, best for . . . you get the idea).
Other decisions challenge me as well. Sock shopping requires considering potential fabric discomfort, tightness, looseness, thickness, color and cost all are weighed, a process that makes sock shopping (along with shopping for any other clothing that touches my skin) only slightly less complicated that a space shuttle launch. Book store trips are far longer, even when you discount the time spent with coffee and aimless browsing. Should I buy the book? Should I buy it now or wait until later? Is it at the library, or do I really want to own this? Perhaps PaperBack Swap, or would that take too long? I’ve had some titles in my wish list for two years. I’m patient, fortunately.
Bigger decisions are far easier. The big commitments, such as marriage, having children, chosing a workplace, deciding to homeschool, picking a church, come more easily. These tend to be issues of the heart and soul as much as of the mind, which, perhaps, is why they’re easier for me. They require more integration of my rational mind and intuitive self, and when I work out of both of those, I can choose with more clarity. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to take this self-knowledge to the store with me, but I could try to make social event decisions with a more integrated self. Once again, writing brings me new insights. Aha. Now if only I had some intact socks . . . what to choose?