Choice Adventure Anxiety
I used to read Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid. I say read, but I think I stressed about them more than anything else. I remember getting to the agonizing point where I had to do one of 2 things: “Go to page 29 if you decide to open the door,” or “Go to page 45 if you decide to walk away.” What the fuck, man?! How was I supposed to know which decision to make?! More often than not, I chose whichever decision seemed safer. Then, I went back, and read through the other option.
I think, if nothing else, this says a lot about my personality. The plus side is I spend a lot of time researching various options. I never jump into anything without thinking it through completely. Actually, that’s not entirely true. There was this one time I ate a piece of candy my kindergarten teacher gave me directly after she told the whole class to wait until lunchtime. She caught me and made me spit it out. To this day, I still regret that.
So there was that one time, but for the most part, I promise you, I learned my lesson. I do plenty of research before making a decision. And when I say research, I mean it in all senses of the word. Before I moved to Los Angeles is a great example of that. Spreadsheets, books, word of mouth, actual trips to visit, etc. Man, I did a lot of research. I researched neighborhoods, casting directors, agents, churches, the weather, things to do on the weekends, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
So that’s the plus side, and it’s a big plus side! The downside, however, is equally as large. While I do plenty of research, I also do plenty of stressing. The thing is, I rely on my research, but sometimes it is a bit too compulsive for my own good. I rely and take comfort in research because it makes me feel like I am in control, and because I want to be in control all too often, I put too much emphasis on my decisions. I feel there is always a right and a wrong way to do something.
The problem for me then, is that in real life, I can’t go back and change my mind like I can with Choose Your Own Adventure books. I have to live with the decisions I’ve made. I have to say, I really struggle with this!
Fortunately, there is a comforting conclusion coming . . .
Life is nothing more than a collection of choices, and we are manifestations of the choices we make.
Key word: choices. Not choice. No single decision will make or break our lives.
I think that’s a wonderful thing, don’t you? For me, it takes the pressure off the decisions I make and helps me to balance out my obsessive research with my choice anxiety.