Decision Paralysis: Freedom of Choice Is Stressful
I have this issue when eating, I find it very hard to eat without having something on the television to passively watch. If I try to eat without a show, music, or some form of organized noise then everything doesn't feel right. Eating in quiet feels like a last meal sort of thing, like I'm supposed to be depressed and dreading what follows. I know some people sit at a table and eat together, talking and bonding with one another, but I have trouble talking and doing anything else. I can multi-task like crazy, unless talking is involved. That's likely a whole other big thing that I should discuss with a professional, but until I do, I'll just assume it's normal.
The problem with having to find something to put on before I eat became a weird sort of stress after I decided to get rid of cable in favor of just keeping streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Why don't they have Pawn Stars? Pawn Stars was safe, fake, dumb, but easy. Yesterday was a great example of this.
I had made something to eat, sat down, turned on Netflix and began the browsing routine. Do I want to put on a movie or a TV show? Well, a movie is a long commitment and a TV show could turn into a marathon, which is a longer commitment. I've heard good things about Stranger Things, but that seems too dark for what I'm eating. Oh! Luke Cage just came out, I liked Jessica Jones, but Jessica Jones became a marathon show and I need to work tomorrow. Maybe I can just turn on a stand-up act, but I haven't heard of some of these people, who is John Mulaney? I kind of like his suit, but bad stand-up can be frustrating. Alright then, no stand-up, too risky... maybe a documentary, I've already seen most of those though and the nature stuff reminds me of a doctor's office and the food stuff will ruin my appetite. I haven't seen the Princess Bride in awhile, I love that movie, but I'm not sure I'm up for a movie.
Now my food is cold.
This sort of problem, while not exactly like described above for everyone, is a common issue we face and we have begun to face at a startlingly high rate thanks to the ease of access to mostly all things in abundance. It is called Decision Paralysis, which is a close cousin to Analysis Paralysis, but different. I'll likely talk about Analysis Paralysis some other time. There is also Emotional Paralysis, Escape Paralysis, Sleep Paralysis, Paralysis Paralysis, in general, there is nothing good that comes from paralysis.
Decision Paralysis is such a strange disorder when you consider it. We should all be happier when we have options, we should all be happier that we have such a large abundance of bullshit to waste our time on when procrastinating, and that we aren't just forced to deal with what is given to us. We aren't all Amish, and I think we should be grateful for that. I don't want to churn my own butter and have sex through a hole in a sheet. That's the Amish right?
However, studies show that with more options comes more possibilities, and more possibilities comes with more chances of getting a choice wrong, or at least the perception of getting a choice wrong.
For example, I recently went shopping for a new mop, just a mop, a fucking mop. A clothy thing on a stick that you dunk in soapy water and then rub on the ground until you're satisfied that you did a thing. How would buying that be stressful? Well, search "mop" on Amazon and choose the best option. Like the best option for price, features, and all around usefulness. Which one will last the longest? Will it get into corners, does it have the right shape? Is a steam mop the best way to go? This one comes with a bucket, but this one comes with easy to replace micro-fiber pads. This one has a built in broom. This one does all of the above, but has 3 and a half stars, so must do most of it kind of crappy or not have sent free products to some self-important asshat for their "honest feedback."
Let me just put it this way, it took me a couple of days to decide on a mop and the one I got works great, works better than any mop I've owned before, but I still can't help but think that there may have been a better choice if I researched more. Which is a stupid thought. My floors are easier to clean now, yay!? Why doesn't it feel great?
Now imagine this sort of dilemma when being offered something as complex and important as medical care. I got medical insurance for the first time in my life with my latest job (yay!), so I decided to try and find a doctor. I live in Las Vegas, there are hundreds of doctors. How do you find a good doctor? There are review sites like Healthgrades and Vitals, but not every doctor is there and most of that information is outdated, plus most doctors I've talked to have no idea that those sites exist. This makes me wonder how in the hell everyone else in the world finds a doctor. Do they just pick a number from a hat? I just want my Mom to tell me to go see the family doctor and that's that. Do people even have family doctors anymore? Like that one old dude that was your family doctor since your parents were kids? They touched your grandparent's privates, they touched your parent's privates, and now they are touching yours. Cough please!
Let us just set the record straight, life is better overall now than it was in the past, enough study has been done on that fact. However, we just haven't adapted to a world where all the books and information the world has collected is at our literal fingertips. We don't have to take anyone's word for anything anymore, we can just fact check their ass in a matter of seconds.
Sometimes I just wonder if the path to happiness is settling for good enough. The search for perfection is paralyzing and often a waste of time, especially when it comes to finding a movie to watch, a mop to buy, or a place to eat. We can imagine how green the grass is elsewhere, or we can just take care of our own lawn. What fertilizer should I use though?
Having an abundance of choices is amazing, it is a great and wonderful thing. The quality of what is out there is better overall. Unless you ask Grandpa, then nothing is made like it use to be. It was all made with steel and wood and nails and the blood of Jews. Ignorance is bliss and sometimes I just like it when someone tells me what we are having for dinner rather than asking me what I feel like having. I don't want that responsibility today. Just no peas.