Mental Wellness

Too Many Choices, Too Little Time

Life is all about choices. Isn’t that horrible and wonderful and terrifying and exciting? 


I hate choosing, whether it’s a restaurant to have dinner at or a job that I’ll have for the next five years. I just can’t stand to think about everything I won’t have by choosing this one thing. I blame it on being a Sagitarrius, but I think it’s also just human nature. 


Don’t we all think about what might have been? What would have happened if you’d gone to a different college, or moved somewhere else after graduation, or said ‘yes’ to that date with that one guy that one time?


I’m thinking a lot about choices lately because I have way too many of them, which should be a good thing, right? There are some people who have no choice on where they live, what they do, who they live with. I’m glad I have the ability to choose, but when it comes time to make that decision? Ugh. God. Terrible. 


The thing that sucks about not being able to make any choices is that, in the end, the choice gets made for you. I go back and forth on where I should move next, but while I dither and hem and haw, the roots of my life here just burrow down deeper. I shrug off career changes and potential jobs that don’t exactly align with what I think I could do, and in the meantime, I continue working a job I don’t love, just because I know I’ll get paid for it. And just like that, another choice made for me. 


I know it’s not profound to say, and many others have said it before I ever sat down at my computer to write this, but the life you have is never the end goal of *gestures vaguely* all this. You’re never going to make One Perfect Choice that will make everything else fall in line. You choose, again and again and again, and you’re never done. 


Some people probably find that idea exhilarating. “My choices never run out? I’ll always have the chance to change something? Right on!” But for people like me, who stare down the barrel of life and can only see all the times you’ll end up choosing wrong in the future, it’s sort of hell. 


Part of my problem is that I’ve made a lot of wrong choices, which is what has put me in my current less-than-ideal situation. And, when you have a proven track record of screwing up your life, it makes it harder and harder to trust that this jump you’re thinking about taking isn’t just one more mistake. 


Another component to my current conundrum is my inability to see the forest for the trees. Or maybe the trees for the forest. Everything feels permanent to me. If I go somewhere, if I do something, that’s it. It’s over. That’s the only job I’ll ever have, the only place I’ll ever live, the only people I’ll ever know. That’s why choices feel so weighty to me. If I choose wrong, it’s like I’ll never be able to undo it. 


I don’t know how to fix any of this, or get myself to start facing choices with a smile instead of a grimace, but I try to look at it this way: You will choose. You will choose wrong so many times, it will knock your socks off. There will be times when you’ll think, “I thought I messed up before, but this — this is it. This is the end.” 


But you’ll also choose right. You’ll pick a road to go down and change everything for the better. You’ll make a decision that will make you happy for the rest of your life. There will be times when you’ll think, “I thought I was happy before, but this — this is it. This is what I was looking for.”


Accept that you’ll be wrong. Accept that you’ll be right. Make the choice, then make it again when it blows up in your face. Choosing is terrifying. It’s also kind of fun (or at least that’s what they tell me). So, pick something. Pick anything. Just make sure you pick. 

by India McCarty

I am a freelance journalist who specializes in writing about music, but loves writing about everything!

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