Is too much choice ruining our lives?

I’m all for freedom of choice, dancing to your own rhythm and individuality. However, I wonder if we now have so many options that we are too busy making our minds up to actually live our lives. 

Let me explain. Here we are on holiday with a small suitcase of clothes apiece, just a few well-chosen books and toys and    shopping for only one meal ahead based, in part, on not creating dishes to wash. And it’s lovely. 

Have we been short of something to wear, something to do or something to eat? Not for a minute and it all seems so much easier than ‘normal’ life. 

As far as I can see, apart from the lack of work and the fact we’re in someone else’s house, the biggest difference is that there are fewer options lining up for consideration. Clothes are picked based on the weather and what’s clean, food on what’s in the fridge/small shop and so on. 

At home, faced with a cupboard full of garments deciding what to wear can take an age. And be subject to a last-minute change of heart… in favour of the outfit I first thought of. 

Supermarkets fox us with permutations. Then they sprinkle on other considerations, price, quality, style, image, eco credentials, health benefits and free gifts or special offers. Figuring out what’s best is exhausting and that’s before you’ve lugged it home and considered the options for cooking it. 

Nothing is simple. The telly box now has more options than you can flick through in an hour, there are dining out options, movies to watch, cars to choose and social networks to commit to. Too damn much to pick from. 

Weighed down by opportunities, yet frightened by the possiblity of getting it wrong, life is becoming more difficult. Quick choose now, choose right and choose better than anyone else. Your life will be judged on it. 

I suppose it’s why my car is a Skoda – there are only a couple of models in their range. I go to Aldi or Lidl not just for cheapness but because they have only got one of each thing on their shelves. I love restaurants where they just bring good food – no thinking required. 

But even then, decisions fill up our lives taking up all the space so there’s no room for anything else. What to have for breakfast? Whole grain or organic? Quick or tasty? What to clean the house with? How fast to drive? Buy new or second-hand? What to eat? Exercise or relaxation? Watching, reading or writing? Blue ink or green? Recycle, keep or dump? 

When we get home, it’s time for a huge clearout – out will be the new in, dump the new keep just in case and recycle the new hoard. I need some spaces in which to make the choices I can’t avoid. If you catch me dithering in the vast breakfast cereal aisle of life, remind me of this post. 

Too much choice is a grave mistake

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  1. Anonymous says

    Funny thing….I remember one of my daughters who insisted on going up and down every aisle in a supermarket in case she missed something! But that was probably before she was encumbered with a few children. If the choices and decisions seem bewildering, and I do agree with you on that, perhaps the thing to do is remind yourself to keep it simple. Although I do realise that 'stuff' has a habit of creeping up on one, until it's falling out of every cupboard. Hey ho! Mxx

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