The older I get, the more I am plagued by something I could have never seen coming. Something cold and cruel, deadly and isolating. Destructive and mind-altering. No, this thing is not anxiety. It’s indecisiveness. Upon each day that passes I find it harder and harder to make concrete decisions for myself. As a kid, I knew exactly what I wanted to eat at a restaurant. I knew exactly what I wanted to wear each day, and I was certain on what I wanted to be when I grew up, where I wanted to live, and how many kids I wanted to have. Now, I feel stumped by even the smallest decisions.
Take yesterday for example.
I had three things to do: Book an Airbnb, find a smoothie shop to go to, and buy one summer bathing suit. I had three decisions to make that weren’t life-altering. Three decisions that were actually wonderful little treats to enhance my cooped-up quarantine life. Three decisions that should have sparked immediate joy! Instead, they sparked instantaneous indecisiveness.
Let’s start with the Airbnb. When COVID erupted, my husband became an essential worker. Between my work and his 6 day-a-week job, we hardly have any quality time anymore. After much debate, because I'm a penny pincher and still struggle to buy myself a pack of new socks when I'm desperately in need of some, we agreed to take a weekend off for a staycation. It was my job to find us a quaint, affordable place for two nights. Simple, right? Wrong. Disastrous. I’ve now looked at every home and guest house in the entire state of California. I’ve gone from tiny homes to ranch villas. Beachside escapes to tree houses in the mountains. You wouldn’t believe how many hours you can waist staring at stranger’s homes on the computer. I’ve probably spent nearly 10 hours. Excuse me. I meant to say I’ve probably lost nearly 10 hours scrolling through Airbnb’s I could potentially stay in. It’s been over 2 weeks and we still haven’t found the “right place” for two nights. It’s two nights people! This should not be that hard!
Then there was the smoothie dilemma. My husband and I have made it a point to go on a date each week. Often times, it’s a simple hike through a wooded forest, but sometimes we go a little further and treat ourselves to take out food or in this case a smoothie. We agreed getting smoothies would be our weekly date this week, not just because we love smoothies, but also because the AC in our guest unit broke and we've been sweltering for days. My husband said, “Babe, pick a smoothie spot for us to go to this week!” I smiled then went directly to yelp. I scrolled through an unhealthy number of foodie pics, skimmed hundreds of reviews about overpriced blended cups of fruit, and then I looked up all the menus to check out what ingredients would be used to make up my cup of blended fruit. After all this research, I still hadn't settled on a smoothie spot because what about the location? Did these smoothie shops have an outdoor patio or were the stuffed in some corner of a strip mall? This matters people! At least in the moment it seemed to. After all this in-depth smoothie research, my husband came over and asked where we were going to get smoothies? All I could say back was, "I don’t know.” Is this painfully pathetic or what?
Next on my list was to buy one summer bathing suit. As I began my hunt for a bathing suit, I noticed this terrible pattern start to emerge. It went like this: search, find a bathing suit I like, add to shopping cart, go to shopping cart, freeze. STOP! What if I’m missing out on a better deal? What if there’s a swimsuit I’ll like even better out there? And what are all these new retail stores flashing at me on Instagram, Facebook, and Google ads? Oh no! Google knows I am on the hunt for a high waisted swimsuit, and now I’m plagued with options, so many options!! I need to keep looking. I need to choose my color. Wait. What is my color? Every woman has a color. I should know my color. Help! I don’t know my color! Summer is almost coming to an end and I still don’t have a freaking bathing suit!! I don’t know who’s behind the marketing team of Rowe and Shein, but they are on a roll. It’s like I’m about to click – buy swimsuit – when Rowe comes out of nowhere taunting me with their low prices. Did I mention I don’t even like wearing bathing suits? I’m much more a fall girl with the oversized sweaters and leggings look. Now I'm just angry. This should not be that hard!
At this point in my life, I’m not going on a summer staycation. I’m never going to drink that smoothie I’ve been craving, and when it comes to getting a summer bathing suit, I might as well accept another summer bopping around in my old Target bathing suit that’s losing its elastic in the rear end and busting me out at the top. FYI this is not a cute look.
Why Is It So Hard To Make A Decision These Days?
The answer is the Internet. When the internet came out it provided us with wonderful tools for communicating along with sharing, learning, and passing along knowledge, but with it also came choices. So many choices. This is the gift and curse of the internet.
There is more to choose from now than ever before. Right when we think we know what’s best for us, we are stopped by an image on the internet or social media telling us to consider all these other options instead. The internet plagues us with ads and images surrounding whatever we have most recently googled. Images are powerful. They seep into our mind and live there for days, but I want to do what’s best for me, not what is best for Brenda, Sue, Mary Ellen, or The BuketList Family. We need to get back to becoming more confident decision makers. We need to get back to our inner-child who was so sure of themselves for better or worse. But where do we begin? A great place to start is by following the 3-step method below!
3 Steps To Make More Confident Decisions:
1) Walk Away From Images On The Internet
We have to walk away from the outside source: social media and dive into the inner source: ourselves. The right decision for us is not one that pops up as an advertisement on the side of our computer screen. The right decision is the one that comes from within. The one that makes absolutely no sense to an algorithm. The decision that fills us up most in life is one that can’t be captured by the click of a camera. It’s the one that captures our hearts. When in a pickle ask yourself: What do I really desire out of life? What truly brings me joy? What would I wear if Instagram didn't exist? These questions are excellent for getting back what's most true to you.
2) Name Your Fears
When you're feeling indecisive, there's a fear that holds you back from making a decision. It's called the fear of the unknown. This fear stirs up questions like: What if I make the wrong choice? What if nobody or the other peolpe involved (in my case my husband) doesn't have a good time? What if there's something better out there and I am missing out? When fear of the unknown takes over, take a moment to write down all these fears on paper. Look at them. Observe them. Then write out the truths next to your fears. Observe those truths closely and watch your mind be filled with confidence.
For example: I can't choose a wrong AirBnb to stay in. Any of them will be great! My husband and I will be happy no mater what smoothie we drink. A bathing suit will not make or break anything that happens in my life.
3) Ask Yourself: Will This Matter In 10 Years?
With all the options in the world, we give so much time and energy to the smallest of decisions that just aren’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. I mean what smoothie shop to go to? Come on Sarah. It's a blended cup of fruit. When you feel plagued by what to do ask yourself the most valuable question in the world when it comes to decision making: Will this matter in 10 years? Often times the answer is no. This may seem harsh, but it’s actually an amazing relief! When you realize that whatever choice you are battling with probably won’t matter in 10 years, you are free from the weight of indecisiveness that holds you back. Amen to that! Go with your gut and move on!
Great news! After I completed this 3-step method,
my inner child returned, and I knew exactly what to do!
1) Airbnb – I don’t need to stay in a massive house for quality time with my husband. I have no desire to fall asleep on a tree branch either. And I am not settling for a mini fridge and a microwave to eat from. Nutritious food is important to me, and a kitchen is a must. I don’t want to stay in a place where the owners live on the property and let their yappy dogs roam free either. All I want is a pool to relax in and the option to blast 70s rock music to late in the evening if I so desire. That’s it. That’s all I need from a staycation property. Decision made!
Our Perfect COVID getaway:
2) Smoothies – I don’t like Jamba Juice, and I will not settle for their products. I’ve worked in smoothie shops. I know a lot about nutrition, and I don’t want to splurge on blended fruit from this chain establishment. I want a smoothie made from organic fruit that comes with vegan protein powder. I don’t need to drive half an hour to get a cute photo of my smoothie by the beach either. This smoothie is for my tastebuds not Instagram. Decision made!
Our New Favorite Organic Smoothie Shop Founded By A Former Homeless Man:
3) Bathing Suit – I don’t want any funky patterns. I don’t want geometric shapes, and I don’t feel comfortable in a skimpy bikini. I want a simple colored bathing suit, a red or coral one. I don't care if this is my color or not. Also, I have no idea when wearing thong bottoms started becoming a trend, but I can’t get on board with that. My butt checks like a piece of fabric on them and that is what I will buy. I will also buy a bathing suit from Dillard’s. I know this is a boring, ancient old lady store, but Dillard’s bathing suits feel like me. They have a classic, natural look to them, and I will not search one other online retail store for a swimsuit. Beat that Shein advertisements. My decision has been made!
My New Summer Coral Bathing Suit, Go Dillards:
DONE! All my decisions have been made! My gosh would you look at that? I feel better. I feel confident. I feel like me again! Let me tell you, it's an amazing feeling to feel like yourself. When you feel plagued with indecisiveness, turn off your phone and come back to this 3-step method. It's an amazing feeling to get back to what feels true to you!
What decisions are you struggling with today? I would love to know your thoughts!