Monday, January 3, 2011

Tabula Rasa? Not when you have Decidophobia.

We’ve officially walked through the threshold into twenty-eleven, and all I feel is a big sense of disappointment. (I know, it’s only the 3rd and I’m already feeling let down???) The truth is that I’m disappointed in myself. The start of a new year presents a clean slate, the opportunity to turn over a new leaf and head a new direction, and while I have the utmost desire to do this, it’s difficult to move in a new direction when I feel so stuck. I'm just a few steps into the new year, but I can't see which way to go. It's like I'm blinded by a thick winter fog. Considering that winter puts me in a depressed mood, it may be better for me to start my new year in April. Just a thought...

Now that I think about it, getting myself “stuck” (as in: stumped, temporarily disabled, paralyzed, etc.) has been a recurring theme in my life.

I once got stuck during a piano recital and couldn’t remember anything past the first few measures. I was mortified. I quit taking piano lessons after that incident.

I got stuck while trying to choose colleges. I ended up going to UT-Knoxville and hating it. After taking a year off, I re-enrolled at MTSU and hated it there, too. I defaulted to in-state/local schools because it was the easy answer. In hind sight, I should’ve explored more opportunities further away from home.

During my time at MTSU, I got stuck while trying to compose term papers. Not just stuck on one or two, but like, ALL of them. Each time I was asked to write a paper, I went into complete hysteria. Just ask Sean – he sat with me through several crying incidents at his computer.

I get stuck when it comes to home décor. My entire house is beige – the walls, the carpet, my furniture, pillows, sheets and towels. Beige, beige and more beige. I enjoy looking at home décor magazines and websites, but there are just too many choices out there (and not enough money in my wallet). So, I choose to avoid the decisions and live with the beige.

The act of being stuck, my friends, is no good place for me. Canines have the inherent “Fight or Flight” response. My natural response to a challenge is stand still, cry a little bit and then poop my pants because I’m scared shitless. Rather than take the bull by the horns, I immediately turn into a depressed, self-deprecating, fearful mess of a human being. When there’s no clear path set for me, I struggle greatly to set forth in a new direction – any direction. Isn’t that so pathetic??? I just Googled “fear of too many decisions”, and apparently, Princeton University philosopher Walter Kaufmann identified this as “decidophibia” in 1973.

Decidophobia: people who lack the courage or will to sort through the different sides in disagreements to find the truth. They would rather leave the deciding of what is the truth to some authority.

That definition doesn’t hold true with all aspects of my life. I’m generally confident when making basic decisions such as, picking a place to eat for dinner or buying a pair of shoes. In fact, my friends usually turn to me when it comes to mapping out a plan. Unfortunately, when it comes to more important things like…I don’t know…WHAT TO DO WITH THE REST OF MY LIFE then I’m a complete coward. Kaufmann's definition of decidophibia brings up a good point, though: he says that these people are trying to find the truth. And I realize that I'm not seeking the truth. I'm just seeking a path. Specifically, the "right" path and the "cheapest" path. And it's stupid because there is no "right" path - only different paths. Each path will present it's own challenges, and each path will shape me in it's own way. I just WISH there were more FREE paths...

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