I Don’t Know, What Do You Want To Do?

I don’t like making decisions. Big ones, small ones, inconsequential and life-changing ones. Having to make a decision causes me no small amount of stress, and I try to avoid it as much as possible. Of course that’s not realistic, but who said that neuroses have to be logical?

I do several things to avoid making decisions, one of which is engrossing myself in research. I’ll find out as much as possible on a topic, taking as much time as I can before whatever deadline is approaching. Oddly enough, this doesn’t help: I just find my head filled with half-understood variables, each of which requires a decision in and of itself. But I continue doing it anyways. It feels like progress, and it lets me procrastinate.

Which brings up another coping method: procrastination. I’ve touched briefly on how procrastination and perfectionism are intertwined, and I think this is another example. I worry so much about making the wrong decision that, if I wait long enough, any decision is better than none. Or even better (for loose definitions of “better”), the decision gets made for me.

And that’s the third way I try to avoid decisions: I delegate the responsibility to others. This can be as explicit as saying “All right, what are we having for dinner?” or more subtle, such as “We have X and Y in the house. What do you want for dinner?” Luckily I am generally pretty easygoing, so the sacrifice of control is more than outweighed by the joy of not having to decide. This has caused a large number of conversations with my girlfriend to devolve into an endless loop of “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

A result of this is that once I make a decision, I try very hard to avoid having to make it again. For instance: now that I’ve found a style of pants I like, I just buy a new pair of the same jeans whenever I need them. Once I found a shampoo I liked (in France, of all places), I continued using it after getting back to the states. I have even been seeking out the same style headphones for at least the past ten years. When one wore out, I would just buy a new pair.

These last two examples have recently cause me grief, as it has become harder to find the products I’m used to. I tried, going to multiple stores in the area, but was unsuccessful. Long story short, I had to cowboy up and *shudder* change. I did more research than I needed to (of course), but eventually the lack of clean hair and using only one functioning earbud became annoying enough to make me make a decision.

And of course, I wasn’t overly thrilled with either choice. But I think that’s mostly because they’re different, not because I was wrong. And I’m starting to realize that too: a wrong decision is not the end of the world. Most of my decisions are trivial in the grand scale of things. Stressing about them is not a good use of my mental energy. I’d like to think that realization is a sign of adulthood.

But I haven’t decided yet.