By Corinne Mueller '21
My life is like going to an ice cream store.
I step into the store, the bell above the door chimes pleasantly as it announces my entrance and incites a momentary feeling of excitement in my gut: I associate the sound with gratification. I look to the menu board, and that feeling vanishes in an instant.
That feeling vanishes because in front of me is a list of five, ten, fifty flavor choices. Mocha chip, rocky road, black raspberry, peanut butter, cookie dough. The list goes on, and I feel panic setting in. What do I want?
The girl behind the ice cream freezer asks me if I know what I want yet. The anxiety worsens. How am I supposed to choose? I love rocky road, but do I want cookie dough more? Oh wait! I see a flavor I haven’t noticed yet—Oreo! I love Oreo, but what about the rocky road?
The line behind me is growing impatient, so I choose the Oreo. As soon as I order and they start scooping, I regret my decision. What if the rocky road, or the cookie dough, or one of the other dozen choices was better? Did I just waste my decision? Did I make the wrong decision?
My life is like going to an ice cream store because every action, every class, every event, and every path is an ice cream flavor.
I am indecisive because I see ten sides to everything. I am indecisive because I consider every pro and every con five times over. I am indecisive because I doubt myself. I am indecisive because I never, ever, know what I want.
Yesterday I told myself I wanted to be a lawyer. Today I thought about being a journalist. Tomorrow I may want to work for a non-profit. It may cross my mind that I want to be an artist—even though I’ve never been good at art in my life.
Yesterday I wanted to study linguistics. Today it is art history. Tomorrow it might be political science, psychology, German, anthropology, sociology, or English.
Yesterday I was proud of myself. Today I told myself that I am not good enough, and that I must work even harder. Tomorrow I may be satisfied again.
Yesterday I went to a restaurant and stared at the menu for twenty minutes and could not make up my mind. The waiter had to come back for a second time to ask me what I wanted. When I gave him my order, I was anxious. What do I want?’
Yesterday I saw the boy I love, and I told myself I would finally tell him how I feel. Today I swore to myself I would never express those feelings and just the thought of doing so made me cry. What do I do?
My life is full of in-betweens, of overthinking, of back-and-forths, of gray areas, and of doubts.
I have a fear of making decisions. No matter how small, choices scare me. I am scared of ordering ice cream. I am scared of planning my future. I have a fear of making decisions because I change my mind constantly without even knowing it. And as my mind changes, my feelings and behaviors do too. I am unpredictable to myself and to others.
I am a planner. An organizer. Someone who must know and schedule everything. But I cannot do that. My life is a contradiction between who I am and strive to be, and all of my limitations and fears. I am a planner, but I hate choices. Is this normal? I don’t know.
My life is like going to an ice cream store. I am presented with fifty different flavors and wish there were just two or three. I want the ice cream—I love ice cream—but as soon as I walk in and see that list, I don’t want it anymore. “What do you want?” they ask. I don’t know, I scream.
Today I went to get ice cream with a friend, and she let me try hers. I liked my flavor better. I suppose today I made the right decision. No—not the right decision, a good decision. I’ve started opening up about my struggles with indecision by talking to my friends and family. They’re helping me realize that there aren’t always “right” decisions and “wrong” ones. Each small choice I make will not affect me terribly, and each big decision will set me on a unique path that I can always make my own. Even though their logic is rational, I’m still working on believing it.
But I must choose my flavor, because I know that whatever flavor I choose, it will be worth it. Does it really make a difference if I choose Oreo, cookie dough, or rocky road? I suppose it doesn’t. I will be happy with whatever I choose; I just need to learn that I can make the choice. Being paralyzed by indecision is worse than making the “wrong” decision. I might need help along the way, but I will choose.
From the September 2018 Issue