“The decision not to choose is, in fact, a choice.”
I have heard many different versions of this same sentiment at some of the most pivotal moments in my life. And every time this statement is met with a giant sigh. For someone who likes things to be black and white, you’d think I’d have an easy time making decisions. But I don’t. And yet every day is filled with a million little decisions, some more important than others. For instance, every day you decide to get out of bed. I know for the majority of us with jobs or families or obligations, it doesn’t feel like much of a choice, but when it comes down to it, you make the decision, every morning, to get out of bed. Or not. For me, that’s usually a minor decision. A no brainer. A more complicated decision for me comes later in the day. Do I eat now or wait until later? Do I eat this or that? Should I follow my emotions or my logic? For me it is a fight of whose voice will win. Will the distorted thoughts convince me to take a step in one direction, or will my logical thoughts allow me to take a step in a different direction? Every day decisions like this have to be made, and honestly, it has gotten easier, but has yet to be one of those no-brainer type thoughts.
Every day I feel like I’m straddling a line. I feel like one of those cartoon characters with a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other. Often I find myself trying to rationalize my decisions to people. “Well, I didn’t do this because…” and often that is met with “You chose not to. You had a choice, although it may not have been easy, and you made a choice in which direction to go.” Ouch. I think sometimes we like to believe that life is a series of events that happen to us, when in reality, for the most part we are responsible for the choices that make up our life (the fact that I just wrote that sentence makes me feel nauseous).
Moment of vulnerability: this is my bathroom currently.
A while ago, I decided to give up my scale. My plan was to decorate it with encouraging thoughts and then smash it to pieces. I decorated it with motivational sayings and words of encouragement, but when it came time to smash and trash, I panicked. The new problem became that I could not bring myself to step on this now “motivational” scale every day. It felt hypocritical. So I did what any sane person would do (kidding), and bought a second scale. These two scales sit next to each other on my bathroom floor and every morning I make the choice to step on the one where I can see the number, or step on the one where I can’t. Every morning, I am faced with a literal black and white decision on which path I want to take. In reality, I somehow want the best of both worlds, which is not actually an option. I do whatever it takes to not have to make those hard decisions. However, it just keeps coming back to me. A decision not to choose is a choice in itself.
So my goal for the New Year is this: I do not promise to make the best choices every day. That’s not a promise anyone can keep. What I can promise, is that each day, as I make my decisions throughout the day, I will be conscious of the fact that I am making my choices, whether they are good or bad. I will try to remember that I am responsible for my choices.
As my friend Laura said, “you can go through life straddling the line. But that is not a kick ass life. That’s a life of compromise & mediocrity & I want more.”