Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Too many choices make a complicated life.

Hello. Today has brought wind and some rain, but not as much as yesterday. It's also a little bit warmer. I've been sewing, working on the picture. Now I have two trees, a turquoise one and a red one. I was thinking I need three trees but not so sure now. I wonder if I ought to make a few smaller trees. I have made some leaves out of felt, think that's a good idea, but how many shall I make. All these choices. I suppose that's what art is all about, shall I use this colour, or that colour. It's nice to have the freedom, to take it in whichever direction I choose, but with freedom comes many more decisions to make.

Plenty of time to think today, while I sew. Am I the only one who thinks the fewer choices we have makes life a lot more simpler. I am limited by what I can buy because I have a small income. It is not so small that I have to go without, I have enough, but if I had less money my options would be a lot less, so there would be less to think about. I could cope with that. But if I had more money, that would give me more choices, and I'm not sure that would give me a better life.

I like things being simple. When my heating didn't work I didn't have to make the decision on whether to turn it on or not, whether I could afford to heat the house. There was no decision, it didn't work, end of story, so I managed. Making decisions takes discipline. I am laid back, I only make the decisions I have to make, on important matters, everything else gets pushed to one side and I say I'll deal with it later. Like, getting the dyson out, I think about it for a few days, and ignore it. It's not important that I clean the floor today, might do it tomorrow, or the day after.

In the supermarket there are far too many choices, I don't need twenty kinds of baked beans to choose from, or ten kinds of fruit juice or soya milk. And why so many different kinds of cereals. Bran flakes do me fine. I eliminate a lot of choices when I go shopping, I am blinkered as I walk down the aisles. I totally ignore the stuff I don't want, don't even see it. Every so often I will try something new, but only if it is a reasonable price, and only if I spot it while looking for something else. I skim over the shelves, not really seeing what is there, I just look for what I know I want. I have already decided before I go, what I want. I don't have to think about shall I get this, or shall I get that. My mind is already made up.

When I drive my car I have my radio programmed to Radio 2, 3, and 4, that's all I listen to. I don't fiddle with cd's, because then I would have to decide which one to play. In fact I have only got about half a dozen anyway. My radio at home is tuned into Radio 2 and 4, and local Radio Humberside. If there is nothing on those stations I want to listen to, I switch it off. I can play cd's, records, and tapes, but rarely do, I like the quite. I can hear the rain while I type this, there must be a metal cover on my chimney pot, when the rain hits it the clinking sound echoes down into the living room.

I don't do meal planning because I don't want to think about what I am going to eat until half an hour before I eat it. There is no food prepping in my house, my cooking is quick and simple.

It's good to plan a holiday, but not to the point of stressing about it. The bus holiday I did, I didn't have a route, just a destination. No accommodation booked, take whatever I could find. Come back when I felt like it. No worries about missing a bus, there will always be another one. When on my walking trips, I don't plan exactly which route I will take, just a possible route, which always changes along the way. I make my choices while actually walking, because my mind is cleared of everything else.

I have decided not to go shopping this week, so that has eliminated a whole lot of choices.

Eliminating  trivial choices gives me freedom to think about the really important things in life, like happiness and contentment. I often say freedom to choose is very important, and it is, but I don't want so many options that I am overwhelmed. Making lots of decisions uses too much brain power, so I weedle out what is important and dump the rest. When I am deciding which way to go with the art work, all other decisions go out of the window. I want to make it the best I can so other stuff has to wait.

At this time of night I start winding down, it's time for relaxing, for switching off. I've just decided to have some rice pudding, that will be my last decision of the day.

Here is your question for today. Can you prioritize your options, switch off from those that aren't important, and decide which to deal with and which to push to one side?


  1. Ilona, I think it's a wonderful idea to have less stress, but my stress would come from not having enough planning done ahead of time. That's just the way I operate. However, I do think we have way too many choices in the grocery store. I think a lot of it comes from all the fad diets, or needed diets that require different combinations of ingredients. I just wish they would organize the stores better so we can find what we need. And I am pretty well able to prioritize. Great comments.

  2. Less choice? Yes, please! I like shopping in Lidl as you don't have the choice of so many different brands of the same product. I'm sure the more we simplify things the less stressful life is, the only trouble is, that's not what the media, the government and business wants for us! I keep wondering about not watching telly, Radio 4 keeps me so much more peaceful, and I'm sure I learn more than I do from all the news programmes on tv. Besides, you can craft and listen to the radio at the same time! Oh dear! that doesn't sound too simple does it?! And then there's the whole question of how many craft projects can you have on the go at any one time?! Now there's something to consider! Linda J

  3. You have the right idea Ilona!
    Were you stressed during your driving days?

  4. From Margie in Toronto - I've always been a planner but as I get older I find that I'm looking to simplify much of my life - and you're correct - too much choice is actually stressful. I think I had my epiphany the day I was in the drugstore looking for some personal hygiene items - and there was a whole wall of choices - maxi, mini, regular, long, extra long, wings/no wings - it just got to the point that I started laughing to myself - it was just too ridiculous.
    Now I try to stick to things that I know and like and don't keep looking for "something better".

  5. Interesting thoughts, and not dissimilar to my own viewpoint.

    We live in a capitalist society, and inherent in capitalist ideology is the view that more choice and greater consumption are somehow better for us. Whilst poverty is obviously a bad thing, so - in a different way - is profligacy and excess.

    One of the great things about walking, especially over several days, is that it simplifies what is needed - particularly if you have to carry everything, it soon helps you work out what is essential or not!

  6. I often say that life has become too complex. Bill paying has become so complicated trying to search out the so called 'best deals'. I liked it when you bought your gas from the gas board and your electric from the electric board. All this 'choice' we now have hasn't made the costs any cheaper! I also hate clothes shopping, too much choice. I want plain black trousers and a top that isn't going to make me look like mutton dressed as lamb. I've pretty much given up on shopping, every high street looks the same, there is an illusion of choice but actually we have less choice! I agree keeping it simple is a lot less stressful!

    1. How lovely to know there are others out there that feel the same as me! I'm so pleased I discovered blogland! Linda J

  7. Great post! I know exactly where you're coming from. Too much choice is just a pain 😖😖