Ice Cream and Decision Making

While life continues to be mundane and the weather continues to be treacherous, my brain has been buzzing with ideas on what to do with the rest of my gap year. Writing more, reading more, learning more, volunteering more – you know, the usual. When I finally get down to doing it,  it’s always so surreal because the time lapse between idea and execution for me is always so hilariously long.

Take my Hong Kong trip, which saw me micro-managing my experience. Or my decision to finally dye my hair green. Since statistics are respectable, I’ll throw in some to prove my point. It took me two weeks to decide on flights and accommodation (budget or economy, baggage or no baggage, 6 days or 7 days, hostel or solo room), and I had to consult VP for reassurances It took me close to four months to take the plunge to dye my hair (fear that it will look dreadful, thinking if I should cut my hair short, whether it will destroy my hair).

So yes, the first thing that I’ve come to admit of myself is my compulsive tendency. I’m always thinking too much, stressing too much. Yet, the desire for me to try new things forces me to , and my mind is thus a battleground – on one side is the adventurous me, on the other is the one fearing for everything imaginable under the sun. This means that I can rarely come to a decision quickly. At the same time, when I actually do, the process itself makes the result so monumental for myself.

Surprisingly I rarely regret decisions I have made (exceptions include eating junk food on a whim). And my moment of enlightenment came when I was eating ice cream. Standing in front of the ice cream shop is a difficult task for anyone at any age. How could selecting one or two flavours satisfy my greedy taste buds? I selected rum and raisin as well as coffee chocolate chip, foregoing my usual favourite, mint chocolate chip, and  deciding that coffee chocolate chip is quite similar to mocha, hazelnut chocolate and a host of coffee/chocolate variations (the variations are endless, rather needless, and when you are standing there it is extremely distressing). But when I tasted my ice cream, I realised that my taste buds were not going “damn it’s not mint chocolate chip” – they were going “right, this rum and raisin is yum”.

So there, one of my first philosophical conquests, built on the theory of selecting ice cream. Making the decision is often difficult, but once it is made, the focus on what occurs as a result of making that particular decision will come into the foreground and obscure the paths not taken.

And indeed, the fear of regrets forbids people (aka ME) from making decisions, but decision making already presupposes opportunity costs. If there are indeed pros and cons of each decision resulting in the original difficulty of the decision making process then logically one must be ready to forego something, in order to actually enjoy something.

Wow, I have to say the above paragraph/point only came to me after I got around typing. This is another example of how expectations of things going a perfect way are rarely as satisfying as serendipitous writing (I didn’t really intend to write on this topic even!)

The fear of making decisions often paralyses me and I think the next major decision I have to make will be mainly my choice of university. Being a major decision the inertia of making a decision will obviously be greater than ever before, and indeed it is no ice cream choosing. I’ll just keep in mind that in life, nothing as intangible as life decisions can really be measured properly in pros and cons. I’ll just need to learn to live with uncertainty, and grow some courage to take uncalculated plunges sometimes.

 

 

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