Incapacitating: Too Many Options

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Zucchini Waffles with Peaches and Flax
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August 1, 2012
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Incapacitating: Too Many Options

Too many choices

I’m a planner, but I hate making decisions. Let me explain…

I love to make lists. I think it’s awesome to find new and better ways to do things. I like the planning process. I like innovation, creativity and options. I love options.

I also discovered recently that I hate too MANY options. A couple years ago, when I was trying to determine the “next steps” in my life, I was hit with a crushing realization…

I Could Do Anything

ANYTHING… Anything I wanted to do! It was a horrifying realization… and it was not something I ever thought would scare me, which made it worse. After all, isn’t that what people want… total freedom? Total choice? Every imaginable option? Well… uh… NO. Not really.

Decisions, Decisions…

At that time, I was working for myself (as I have for the past dozen or so years) and I was homeschooling my daughter. I had a van that was ready to be outfitted to travel and was plenty big enough to work as a full-time residence for my daughter and me, if I decided to take off on the several-month-long road trip I’d always wanted to take.

The farm was not ready to move to yet, but it could be… if that’s what I wanted to do. I could move in and make my lifetime dream of living in the little cabin in the woods and writing my reality.

I could move to the city — get an apartment and try “big city life” for a bit if that’s what amused me. I could go anywhere, do anything… except decide where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. It was at that time I realized that having too many options was terrifying. Literally… and totally incapacitating.

Eventually, I decided to move to the farm (moving in before the walls were complete and when the only flooring down was a subfloor, there was no running water and the electric was a “temporary” renovation running through an open window from a construction electric pull.)

But, once I made the decision that I wanted to complete the dream here and make it livable, I moved my butt in and started working day and night to make it happen… and it did. It was tough, but it was the right choice and — a few crying jags, chest beating bouts of unadulterated frustration and wondering “what the HELL was I thinking??!” later — I’m thrilled with my decision. Everything I’ve ever done (that was worth doing) had it’s “putting me through a wringer” stage. The move to the farm was no exception.

Now I live on this beautiful farm, watch the wildlife out my window, hug myself almost every morning when I go downstairs and see my little cabin in the big woods. I want to pinch myself to make sure it’s real. I’m happy. REALLY happy.

Making the Good Stuff Even Better

And, I’m in a position where, once again, I have all kinds of freedom and options and I find my life frittered away with details and miscellany and minutiae. I hate making the same decisions each day. Some things aren’t worth that mental effort. I also hate repeating myself — and that includes being required to make the same decisions over and over every day — what to wear, what to eat, what is a priority in the work schedule, what can wait until later.

I’ve decided that it’s time to hit those items head-on and find the answers — the workable solutions — and build a system that works — works WELL — and requires no constant thought or fretting or re-making the same blasted decisions every day. I want to take the “drudgery” out of my daily life and open it up to more exciting things. Besides, the contortions the Honey Badger and I go through over such questions as “what shall we eat for dinner?” are way to bendy for anyone our age. The madness needs to stop.

The Facts

I’m a girl, so even figuring out what to put on in the morning can be a hassle. Granted, I’m not a “girly-girl” and I also work in an office here at the cabin… so my plight is easier than most. Still, when I consider how many hours and days and MONTHS of my life so far have been dedicated to the thinking about, shopping for, buying, maintaining, sorting, eliminating, re-acquiring, totally revamping and starting all over from scratch, and so on … of my clothing and the contents in my closet, I kinda feel ill. What a total waste of life!

Add in the fact that I hate shopping for clothes and I resent that lost time even more. I despise traditional shopping venues. (Going to the mall gives me psychological hives.) As far as I’m concerned, the only thing the malls are good for is to serve as a habitat/backdrop for the people-watching endeavors. That’s the only thing I like to do at the mall (well, that and eat chocolate truffles from the Godiva kiosk).

Clothing Contortions

I’ve tried for years to “pare down” and create a “simple” wardrobe, and it’s always failed. I always get to the point were there’s this stack of stuff I can’t part with because it fits, it’s my color, I don’t have the ideal piece that will replace those three other pieces I currently own, I don’t have the extra cash in the budget to buy what I really need — so I’ll make do with this or that, etc., etc., etc. I get sick of doing the closet dance and end up shoving stuff back in there, consoling myself that it’s much better than it was before I started the project six or eight hours earlier on a Saturday (when I could have been reading a book or taking a walk or writing or visiting with friends). I also assure myself that MY closet is in better shape and more “minimalist” than anyone else’s that I know… so I pat myself on the back and close the door… until next time.

Packing: A Quick Adventure Should Be Easy

I hate the amount of time it takes me to figure out what to take when I’m going away for the weekend. It should be easy. I should have a list for that on my smartphone that makes it a no-brainer… and I did at one point, but then things got all weird and I started throwing a bunch of stuff in a bag, overpacking like crazy (and I’ve never been an over-packer before), and hoping I have everything covered because I didn’t want to make another blasted decision on what to wear or what to pack. I resent being in a position where I need to make those decisions. I hate it.

From Where I Stand

So, that’s where I am now… I’ve gotten sloppy. And I’ve realized that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life making, remaking and tweaking lists for everything.

After a lifetime of list-making, I think lists are like organizing… they are just an excuse to continue to live a cluttered existence with too much stuff and too many obligations while fooling yourself that because you spend all that time organizing it and making lists and buying boxes and labels and more space to store your stuff more efficiently… that you don’t really have an addiction to stuff and you aren’t really a hoarder at heart.

I no longer want my “stuff” or my “obligations” to be the master of my destiny. I will say no to the stuff I don’t need (even if it’s really cool) and will say “no” to commitments I don’t really want to make. And, I’ll try to not feel guilty for either of these things. Amen.

I want to find a solution, write THAT down … so I can’t play tricks with myself on what those decisions were and fudge it enough to do something contrary to my goals because it suits me at that moment… and be done with it. I want a solution that takes into account where I am now, what I have now, what I want, and what I will want in the future. I want to do this in all areas of my life, but for now (as usual), I’m starting this whole life renovation in my closet. (I’m not sure why I always start there, but I do know that’s where it always begins… you can tell I’ve got major crap going down when I start throwing stuff out of my closet, making piles, and stepping back and staring at them.)

Once the closet is complete, I’ll tackle my nutrition/diet/menu/food project and a handful of other domestic, personal and professional decisions I have to make and remake every day that should be determined once — properly — written down and then just followed.

I’m on a mission to pin down the minutiae in my life so I can spend more time doing what  I love most… living it! 🙂

I’m going to invite you to come along for the ride as I take this journey… so you can see the process, the progress and (hopefully) the stellar end result. Don’t laugh… be kind. It’s a process and won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. On this particular leg of the journey, look for the blog tag “Capsule Wardrobe” to see what I’m doing and where I’m headed.

C’mon… join me! It might even be fun 🙂

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