Of Possibilities & Paralysis

I go to the store to buy some clothes. I pick out three or four things. I walk to the checkout counter. Whoever I’m with—a friend, my mother, my brother—asks me if I want to try out some more, that it was a quick decision, that they have time if I want to look around more, that the green one over there in the corner might look excellent. I softly tell them that I have made up my mind. If I try something else now, it will make it harder, not easier, to decide. Many view this as stubbornness, but no one knows my indecisiveness better than I do. The faux precision with which I cut a decision out of my life, the surgical slice is only an after-effect of my wavering resolve, the doubt in everything I do.

How you do one thing, after all, is how you do everything. No one will admit this, but that does not make it untrue. The way you order at a restaurant is how you seek love, and if you dillydally over deciding what paint to use on your wall, you will delay taking up a job. I avoid my nature in practice. I starve myself of the time to decide; thus, I decide. Whether a decision is correct is not up to me; hindsight gifts decisions their merit. But when I have thought enough and thought hard, I am not willing to think any further. The regular at a cafe always orders the same thing—this tells you more about them than anything they could ever tell you on their own. Baristas and bartenders often know us better than our closest confidants.

But when it comes to the pointlessness we call life, most conversations end, frustratingly so, at one question: what is it that you need?

I need a bench, and I need some books, and I need to be left alone with the time and the patience to read them. That is the only thing I need; it is not what I want, however. I have spent too long deciding what I want; now, the possibilities are endless. And now, I want it all. I want to be a part of the world, help make it move, and avoid sitting on the outskirts of this city of life. Now, I have wasted time deciding. All my life is now an attempt to decide what it will be about, and if I know something about the irresolute, it is that we are always on the fence.