Should I stay or should I go?

No seriously, I’m asking.

The Clash #1 hit could not be anymore relatable; yes, ‘decisions are constantly bugging me’. So I have decided to try and work out the root cause for my flawed relationship with making choices. 

Contrary to its societal purpose, for me, ordering takeaway is more hell than heaven. Just last night my friends and I decided to eat out; Well, a more accurate statement being that my friends ordered takeaway whilst I incurred a mental breakdown. For 30 minutes the internal battle pended - should I really order the reliably delicious Grill’d burger if I’m on the side of town that plates up my favourite sushi? I considered everything. Price range VS. health disadvantages VS. taste factor VS. fomo from not eating what my friends were. The list truly went on.

With respect to routine I eventually threw in the metaphorical white towel, “I hate this, can someone please just decide for me,” permitting my agitated friends to take rein with choice, and avoiding the not so metaphorical RKO I deservedly required. 

Ever read the book Sophie’s Choice? Well, it’s that emotionally fuelled thought process Sophie undergoes that proves as the only cultural reference on par with my anxiety when making a decision. Not just when deciding between Grill’d or Sushi (add another food establishment into the mix and dare I say it gives Sophie’s choice a run for its money), but essentially anything - Yes, that was dramatic, but nonetheless true. So, deal with it! Or get off my lawn

Anyway, my pivotal concern being that if it’s that hard for me to choose between food establishments, how much more can I continue to agonize over this show or that show, this job or that job, this person or that person, this degree or that degree? 

More importantly, why can I never make the decision myself? I find myself consistently searching for answers within someone else’s; subconsciously demanding a third party’s confirmation. But why? What makes their evaluation any more legitimate then my own?

I’m no pushover, if I know what I want (although a rarity) then there’s no stopping me.  However - more often than not - I am scared to make up my mind because I don’t trust myself to make the right choice.  The uncertainty of never finding out where that other irrevocable choice may have lead irks me to the core.

Just recently I found myself submerged in a dynamic cauldron of issues regarding University, all of which necessitated high consequence decision-making. YAY! Now, to cut a very long story short, I was faced with two choices; to defer from either my Data Analysis or Strategic Speech subject. With knowledge of my aforementioned struggle to pick a simple dinner with friends, I’m sure you can imagine this situation was no walk in the park.

Two subjects with a large margin of diversity. As much as I would have liked to think, I couldn’t have the best of both worlds. That ‘other subject’ that could be studied, or job offer that can be taken, or flight that might be boarded, or person that could be chosen or whatever decision it is for you, won’t wait around, especially once it’s made itself a viable choice. The fact we may never see that other path again? It’s up to us to decide if we’re content with that. 

So, with an impending deadline the proposition outlay, what would I pursue? 

I resorted to my go to indecisive survival technique; begging for my mother’s guidance; however, to my dismay she gave but one piece of advice - to “really think”. Although I could have obtained this level of counsel from the 4-year-old I babysit it’s true. As often is the case with abundant choice and the anxiety it incurs: if you can narrow down the pool from which to pick, you can quell the panic that comes with it. It’s this ideology, of quelling the panic, which allowed me to make a decision to pursue Strategic Speech not on distortion but rather, on merit. 

I’ve come to the (very delayed) revelation that at the end of the day there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to decision making, as long as it’s your own - that noted this does not apply if you’re deciding between killing a person or not….. That one is pretty clear. Albeit, there is a right and wrong way in how you make that evaluation, if you know what you want don’t tolerate the safe option, when you settle for anything less than what you innately desire, you cheat yourself and the world of its potential. 

So ask yourself, is there something you’ve been pressuring yourself to want when you know you don’t? Did you pick that reliable burger when you knew you wanted the rare sushi?(Yes I know, I’ve brought back the food analogy… again – DEAL WITH IT.) 

Really though, let me know! I’m needy.


Words by Catherine Collins
Photos by Catherine Collins and Tim Salisbury