Living in Decision Purgatory

For almost a year I’ve been caught between two decisions: do I want to own a car or do I want to save money. If I decide to buy a car, it will be much more difficult to save money. If I save money, I will not be able to buy a car. These two ideas swirled around in my head for many months.

The point was that if I wait to get a car, I will be able to save more money for traveling. This, however, prevented me from exploring where I lived and kept me from going out. It essentially trapped me in the middle of nowhere with no transportation. On the other hand, if I decided to buy a car, I wouldn’t be able to save as much money. This meant less traveling in the future.

These two options caused an enormous amount of stress. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to buy a car or if I wanted to save money for traveling. For most people, the car is the obvious choice. I wanted to travel though, and that desire was stronger than my need to drive.

Whenever my friends went out, I got stressed. I asked for rides as rarely as possible and didn’t want to hassle anyone. When there were celebrations in my city, I stressed because I wanted to go but I couldn’t. Some nights I just wanted to go out and drive on the freeway, just to clear my thoughts, but I didn’t have that option.

The idea of buying a car and giving up my dreams of travel was also too great. My friend from Denmark would call and I wanted to go visit her, so I would get stressed. Friends of mine would take a vacation to Europe, again I would get stressed. Even seeing photos of faraway places stressed me out.

It sounds stupid but I was alway stressed out. The decision should have been simple but it seemed too complex to tackle. If I chose one, I was sacrificing the other, and that was too much for me. Instead I chose to procrastinate and save money. I could buy a car whenever, if I saved money. Still it bothered me.

Enter 2015. Eight months of being stuck in decision purgatory. Even talking about traveling was stressful because it reminded me that I still had not made a decision. Trying to coordinate how to volunteer was becoming difficult as well. So I decided to that it was time to make a decision and I realized something.

In most cases, it doesn’t matter what we choose to do. Most of our decisions are trivial and don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It doesn’t really matter what you wear on your first date or if you drive a Chevy or a Ford. It doesn’t really matter if you choose to paint your walls blue or red. All these decisions sound silly and simple but when you’re confronted with them, they can seem complex.

If you paint the wrong color, it could ruin the room’s atmosphere. You could have to buy more paint, which costs more money. It also take time to paint. If you make the wrong impression on your first date, you may not get a second. These things are stressful. Making decisions is stressful.

But making a decision is sometimes more important than what you actually choose to do. If you spend months trying to choose a color for your living room, you’re wasting time. Just pick one and live with the decision. It’s better to choose than to live in decision purgatory.

For me, I’ve decided to buy a car. I want to get out and experience my local area. I’ll save as much money as I can for traveling but I’ve decided to make a decision and live with it. There wasn’t a “right” or “wrong” choice. Instead of worrying about it, I’ve moved on. Sometimes it’s just better to make a decision and just live with it.

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Making Decisions

Lately I’ve been struggling with making decisions in my life. I’ve referenced it many times before but Sylvia Plath put it well in about a fig tree. She wrote that she saw different possibilities reaching out in all directions. Sylvia sat at the foot of this tree and couldn’t decide which possibility to choose. Instead of enjoying one fig, she watched as they rotten into nothing.

Some days I really relate to this. There’s too many choices and to have one choice means that I cannot have the other. It’s poison to make a decision when you have to sacrifice other options. I want a car but I don’t want a car. There is no right answer. If I buy one, then I will be less able to save money. By not owning a car, I can’t go out on the weekends by myself. I’m stuck between two equally opposing options.

I mean, there are many other decisions I have to make in my life but that’s an easy one to explain. They’re silly and stupid first world issues but it seems like they occupy a lot of thought and create a lot of suffering. If I bought a car, I would suffer because I chose to buy a car. If I continue to live without one, I suffer because I’m stuck in my room. Either way, suffering.

To be honest, I don’t know if there is a solution. I am grateful for the life I have with or without a vehicle. Yet it still is in the forefront of my mind. How do you make peace with your decisions in life?

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