Friday, September 14, 2007

So Many Choices, So Little Time

This summer I switched cellphone providers and spent two hours at the AT&T store. Yes, that is how long it took to go through all of the phones and their options (since my perfectly good Nokia phone was not "compatible" with AT&T because it was a "T-mobile phone"), the various features I could add to my plan, and whatnot. And when I left I wondered for two days if I'd made the wrong choice by selecting the dark gray phone over the black one.

Two months before that my mother offered to buy me a new digital camera for my trip, and I experienced a similar feeling. Despite researching various cameras on the internet and discussing them with the salesperson, I didn't feel settled about the camera I chose. "What if I hate not having a viewfinder?" "What if I really do need the extra optical zoom?" "What if this wasn't the best price?" And so on.

Unfortunately I'm already a bit on the indecisive side, but all of these options make me doubt myself even after I've made a decision. I think this mentality is sometimes seen in dating and planning...you know--holding out for the "better deal." Online dating seems to further enforce this practice, and I've heard the influx of a new set of young women (who have just finished college, for example) in a large church's singles group does as well.

And while I'm not a fan of settling, I'm not an advocate for this endless search for the "best" of everything. If for no other reason, it makes us waste time and fail to find contentment in what we do choose. Anyway, here is a much better post that made me start thinking about this and helped me realize this is part of the reason I'm so indecisive; I am given so many choices that I cannot help but be afraid I didn't make the best one. Check out the comments too; some are really on target.

Edit (thanks Scotty for catching my mistake:) p.s. I am grateful for pieces of pound cake dipped in melted chocolate, good guacamole, and my new friend Chasie who was more than happy to indulge in the previous items with me all evening long.

19 comments:

Clearlykels said...

Here is how I handle the "buyer's remorse"-- once it is purchase, I put blinders onto everything else. I just bought a new TV. I researched. I called around. I scoured the Internet-- the moment I signed the cc receipt, I have not thought about another tv, they just don't exist.

Ridiculous-- yes, it is, but that is me, ridiculous.

brandy said...

I wish I was more like that! I don't really research at all, and I know I should. When my house burnt down I put off replacing stuff for as long as possible (because in my warped mind I thought if I didn't replace things it would be like the fire didn't happen, see- I told you.. warped). Anyway, on the day I decided to finally get new stuff I bought my bed, camera, computer, printer, couch and bookcases within 4 hours. I was exhausted but glad to get it over with so quickly. And I haven't questioned any of it. But maybe it's because I'm too lazy! ;)

Scotty said...

Ahhh... too many choices... I am the same way about a purchase, although once the purchase is done I am done with considering others.

Scotty said...

I also missed your 'I am thankful for' at the end :)

libby said...

oh i so know what you mean! choices (especially those involved with money!) are so hard to make!! Whenever I make one that errs on the side of being cautious...I somehow regret it...but the same when I take a risk!!! how frustrating!

Ropinator said...

Yes, technique can be stupid. I have a 4-5 years old Nokia and it works almost perfectly. A few times 1 button doesn't work properly and 2 times it couldn't read my SIM card but that's all. my brother always change them to a newer. It is waste of money. One of his cell phone was broken after a year.

allbilly said...

Um...on choices about phones, cell plans...etc...who cares....i just say pull the trigger and move on...save your real thought for things that actually matter.

I think most folks overthink things. they don't listen to their internal compass enough....and looking in the rearview will make you either...miss things in front of you ....you wish you hadn't....or run into a wall.

living like one day at a time seems ot make my life easier.

isn't faith based on thinking everything will work out in the end?

Ally said...

clearlykels: Hey if it works, it's not ridiculous:)

Brandy: I think it's awesome that you did all of that in just 4 hours! That's very efficient.

Scotty: Thank you for catching that.

Libby: I agree that the monetary choices are often hard, especially investment type stuff b/c every "expert" says something different, and I'm fairly clueless.

Billy: I guess the notion that because I have faith, I never feel overwhelmed by all of the choices before me seems a bit simplistic. Sure my faith gives me certainty that I have eternal life and thus "things" will work out in the end, but while I'm here on earth I'm still going to struggle with sin--and distractions such as entirely too many options every time I step in the store. What I was trying to get at in this blog (and not nearly as effectively as the blog post I referenced) is that I think we see increased choices as progress whereas it often isn't.

Ally said...

Ropinator: It's pretty easy to get caught up in wanting the newest and best technology. My goal is to keep my cars 10 years-but I must admit that I replace my cell phones much more often b/c the batteries never last much longer than a year (and it's sometimes almost as expensive to replace the battery as it is to purchase a new phone).

allbilly said...

I didn't read that long donkey blog and comments you referenced....So are you saying increased choices aren't progress?

Cause if you are...I don't think I get whatever it is you're getting at. Can you spell this out in kindergarten terms so i'll get it...please.

i'd think all of this makes me wonder how you were defining "progress"...

Ally said...

Yes, I'm saying that "increased choices" does not automatically mean that we're progressing--or that the progress is positive. I suppose it depends on how you define progress, but if "progress" leads to less contentment, then I'd submit it's not the sort of progress I want.

Pam said...

I think it just depends on what I'm buying when it comes to weighing the options. Also..my mood factors into the equation as well. Unfortuantely, deciding over things seems unbalanced for me. For instance, I knew exactly what camera I wanted and where but I will go to three different stores to find the right picture frame.

Ys said...

I do that, too. Always wonder if I should have picked something else or gone for a different option. The only thing that stops me is to think that what's done is done and I can't change it. After a few days I feel better :)

Thomas said...

I suggest this new phone that isn't getting the publicity it deserves - the iPhone.

Susanna Rose said...

I'm so mad cause I commented here a few days ago and for some reason, it got erased when I pressed publish so anyways...here it goes again!;)

I think these are good thoughts and I want to specifically touch upon online dating since you mentioned that. I know everyone has their differing opinions on this subject and mine is just one of many but here it goes...

My husband and I met online (Eharmony) 4 years ago (we were some of the earlier successes I guess:) Anyways, I just think there is somewhat of a misunderstanding as to why many people, especially Christians, may choose the online dating route. Our intentions are unfairly scrutinized as though singles not on these sites are somehow controlling their motives and desires more or something...as if actively and intentionally seeking out a godly man or woman is wrong. As if the only right way is to wait for a completely serendipitous experience while at the same time having perfect motives and being 100% content with singleness.

I would just encourage singles to not put culturally constructed expectations on themselves or others when it comes to the subject of dating/online dating.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see your comments on last entry. Dr. RJJ

appletini said...

Thanx for the link. It was a great post :)
Your post really made me stop and think :)

Susanna Rose said...

After re-reading your post, I think I sort of misunderstood your point...mainly cause I hadn't read it for a few days so shouldn't have commented till I re read it again!;)

Anyways, hope my last comment didn't come off too strong...it truly was not written in the rant like state in which it might have come across!:)

Susanna

P.S. Did you know Tim's my brother? I enjoyed what he had to say on this subject too...I'm definitely so blessed to have such a godly brother. It can even be a bit intimidating sometimes!

Ally said...

Pam: I think my decision making process can seem sort of out of whack too--like I spend much more time picking out a restaurant to eat at than choosing something much more important.

Ys: I just wish I didn't even think about it once it was done--but like you, I let it go within a few days usually.

Thomas: The super fancy phones hold no appeal for me--I don't even use half the functions on the phone I do have.

Susanna: I had figured out that you were related to Tim somehow but wasn't sure exactly how. Is Maryanne your sister? She's how I got connected to Tim and your blogs. And I can see why he's a bit intimidating; I've wondered what his wife is like:)

As for your comment on online dating, I wasn't specifically referring to online Christian dating. I have no issue with online dating itself; I just think it has the potential to reinforce some already bad habits, i.e. always searching for someone more attractive, etc. Sites like Match where you can search by height, body type, and income just seem to feed the notion that we should search for the absolute best (and judging what the "absolute best" is by completely worldly standards) and continue looking for the better deal. I've talked with people who meet someone they like on Match but keep their account just so they can continue searching--just in case they see someone better. Of course, I know the flip side too; a buddy just married a wonderful woman he met on Match. Thanks for sharing your story.

Appletini: Glad you enjoyed.