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The Struggles of Being Indecisive

I’ve always been an indecisive person. You would think that this would have lessened sometime over the course of my 20 years of life. Strangely enough, the only change I’ve noticed is me slowly coming to terms with it. That being said, my level of indecision does come with struggles that those who don’t have trouble making decisions wouldn’t quite understand. Although the title of this article sounds rather dramatic, the making of the mentioned “struggles” are more very minor but very irritating inconveniences. If you also find it difficult to stick your ground or confidently make up your mind in a time effective and easy manner, read on. We may have the same and equally silly problem. 

Bowl of hummus with bread around it
Photo by Vini N from Pexels

The real reason I suddenly felt motivated to write this article was because of a small event that occurred recently at the grocery store. My roommates and I generally go on weekly shopping trips for the necessities, and since we’re all busy, the preference is that we get in and out pretty quickly. The last time we were there, I noticed I was the last person to be searching the aisles and throwing things in the cart. I was also the last one at self-checkout, painstakingly scanning what I suddenly felt was a ridiculous number of items and placing them into my bags. And I realized, this is almost always the case. My style of shopping versus my roommates’ style is extremely different. I wouldn’t say that theirs is necessarily better, but it is most definitely more time effective. My main issue is that even if I write a list prior to the trip, there always seems to be a billion different versions of the same product available for consumption. And don’t even get me started on if I have to decide on what I need in the grocery store itself. 

To try and give a better understanding to those blessed with the ability to simply walk through and choose, I will give an example. If I stand in front of a shelf of hummus, the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. Yes, I wrote down that I wanted hummus on my grocery list, but I didn’t specify what type. Different brands have different pricing, but they also have different sizing. Would it be more cost-effective for me to simply spend a bit more on the larger size? Would I get tired of that specific hummus flavor before I finished the larger edition? Does it even matter? Is my roommate’s impatient sighing related to my having stood in front of countless hummus’ for the past five minutes or some other stressful aspect of her life? Overall, it’s a silly and harmless problem but has actually been a surprising cause of mild tension as I am yet again the last one checking out. Regardless, I’ve since decided to work on this trait that makes it look as though I am deep in thought when really, those thoughts only revolve around a certain chickpea purree. 

Woman grocery shopping, opening her fridge
Photo by CreateHERStock from Nappy

My inability to choose also applies the related but slightly separate question of “what should I make for dinner?” Now that I’ve selected the perfect combination of ingredients from the store (and hopefully in the correct brand and sizing), I would need to put it together to make an acceptable meal. This doesn’t seem like it would require much thought, but what if I needed to take something out of the freezer to thaw at the beginning of the day? There aren’t as many options as in the grocery store, but as someone who loves to cook, there is such a myriad of options that I will, more often than not, return to the basic pasta and meat sauce. 

person holding assorted clothes in wooden hanger
Photo by Becca McHaffie from Unsplash

I have never and will most likely never claim to be a very fashion-forward person. You would think that my preference for simple tee shirts and sweatpants would make the outfit of the day decisions easier. However, this isn’t always the case. What I lack in cute frilly skirts and dramatically cut, flattering tops, I make up for in the sheer number of very similar but just slightly different versions of the same shirt and pants. Oftentimes I’ll put on one of these pieces, only to take it off several minutes later after peering at myself in the mirror and deciding that I wasn’t feeling that specific shade of green. Sadly, this doesn’t actually mean I know which article of clothing I planned on switching it out for, and the process may repeat. Ultimately, I will most likely end up in an outfit that looks to others almost exactly the same as the original. 

Although grocery shopping is more irritating for other people, difficulty with outfit choosing has shown to be particularly inconvenient for me. Getting up and out in the morning is often made unnecessarily complicated. I’ve never been one of those people who wakes up having the emotional energy or craving to do a full face of makeup and just generally put effort into looking their most gorgeous (although power to them). So, it’s strange that if my housemates and I are to go out, my roommate and I (she is one of these impressive people) often ends up being ready at the same time. This is the case, even though her preparation is much more in-depth and involves less intense and thoughtful inspecting of her reflection than my own. 

overhead view of a woman sitting in front of her laptop
Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

Unfortunately, indecision also applies to bigger life decisions than just my food choices. I came into college as undeclared and remained that way for the majority of my sophomore year. I had always felt as though this was a bad thing, and like many other things in life, I simply couldn’t make up my mind. However, looking back, I’m actually glad that I took my time in making a decision. I feel that many students start their higher education with a very set mentality of what they wish to do. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, and to a certain extent, I’m jealous of that level of confidence. If someone is actually happy and passionate within their field of study, then power to them. That being said, taking a bit of extra time to test out classes and feel out way through academics is definitely both warranted and not at the bad thing I felt it was freshman year. 

Overall, my indecision doesn’t really worsen my life. Challenging coursework and the pandemic does a good enough job of that on its own. However, it has proved to be a consistent and irritating aspect of my life and the life of many others. Together, let us spend far too much time grocery shopping, debating dinner options and choosing between countlessly similar outfits so that we can pretend to be more like the decisive people that so impress me. 

Emma Ostenfeld is currently a Junior at Virginia Commonwealth University studying psychology. She is interested in creative (or any other form) of writing and has joined Her Campus in order to improve her skills and experience in this field. Originally from NOVA, she loves everything about living in Richmond Except that she had to leave her three cats at home and misses them dearly. She loves her friends but is enough of an introvert that alone time is a necessity for the sake of her mental health and the sanity of those around her. She is an extreme foodie and always appreciates any restaurant recommendations.
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