I feel like a lot of the decisions I've had to make have really been made for me. Not so much in a “cosmic nudge” sense, but more in an “only option” sense. I went to Bridgewater State College because they were the only college that accepted me. I think technically I'm still on the waiting list for St. Joseph's College of Maine. Hopefully someone from the board of admissions is a fan of this blog. They'll read this, then fast-track me to a residence hall in Standish, ME. Anyhow, decisions. I live in Los Angeles because I had to move away from my family and it was really my only option. I don't choose to do anything, it seems, and when I do it's really not for me. I feel like choices only need to be made if things are changing, and I don't like change. Choosing to get a new job. Choosing to move to a new apartment. Choices seem to only lead to new things. No thank you.
I suppose you could argue that I've made the decision to avoid decision-making. Thanks, Geddy Lee. I just want to lead a simple life, y'know? Decisions are challenging. It hurts to make decisions. Every time I make a decision, I feel like I'm locking off so many other options. You can never go back. Rather than make the wrong decision, I just want to never choose. It's easier to live thinking “well, at least I don't make a lot of bad decisions” than thinking “boy, I make a lot of bad decisions.”
If life is just an excuse to experience things, I suppose it could be argued that there's no such thing as a bad decision. You keep living and living and living and you accrue experiences that allegedly add up in the end to Exactly One Life. I feel like my life is no less rich and full than somebody who goes out and does a billion things. Am I less complete than somebody who has driven across the country? Probably not.
I guess more than anything, I just want to be left alone. No decisions to make. Status quo. Let's just see how everything plays out. It's not exciting. It's not fun. It's just kind of what I want. I don't want to be challenged because I'm afraid to fail. I'd rather be lame than a failure.
Then again, isn't being lame the same as being a failure? You've failed at life. Life really is nothing but an excuse to accrue experiences. If you don't do that, then you've objectively failed. You are a failure at life, and I'm headed that direction as we speak. Well, as I write and you read. Anyhow, yeah. I'm failing. Floundering. Drowning in life. Maybe not that dramatic, but close. I don't decide to do anything until it is absolutely necessary, in case another opportunity opens up. The reason I never advance is because I'm afraid I'll miss out on a chance to advance. It's a wretched Ourorboros of indecision and loathing. I hate myself so I never make decisions so I hate myself so I never make decisions. Since I'm obviously too dumb to make good decisions, I never make them at all. I never make decisions because I feel like I've never made a good one.
I had trouble deciding where we should eat for lunch today. I finally sided with the place that had lunch specials. I'm so conscious of every decision I make that when I go out to eat with friends, I let them all order first. I have back-up meals ready, in case one of them orders a thing I want. “I can't order a pastrami sandwich, too! The waitress will think I'm some kind of Goddamned weirdo!” This, I am certain, is indicative of a crippling personality defect that only a psychiatrist can solve with years of couch-talking and pills.
I know I should just get over it. That's terrible advice, by the way. Get over it. No thanks, I like being miserable. Yes. Of course I'd like to get over it. I want to be able to enjoy the decision-making process. I want to say “PURPLE DRAPES, PLEASE!” “I choose this thing over the other thing!” “No, let's have Chinese food!” I want to be able to do this. I really do. I'll probably never be able to leap into anything, whole-hog, but some day I'd like to be able to say “Yeah, I'll have what she's having,” and not feel like some kind of Goddamned weirdo. Some day.
Josh Grimmer lives in North Hollywood with his wife and cat. He kinda sorta runs this blog, and has another one at http://mousebed.blogspot.com. Twitter him up at http://twitter.com/JoshGrimmer
Hey guys, long time no see. How's everything going? Well, I hope. Listen, if there's one thing we've all learned from this essay it's that I need to make the conscious decision to never write stream-of-consciousness again. This thing is a fucking trainwreck. I just couldn't go on not writing if I'm pretending to run this blog, y'know? Thanks for reading, if in fact you read it.
So anyhow, how was decisions week for all of you? I hope you enjoyed it. We got a few really nice essays, which always makes me happy. I have a few new subjects. We have exactly one essay submitted so far about cars, which is next week's theme. Please – if you have a car story, send it my way. Contact info is on the right side of the screen, so go ahead and ship it off.
Now if you want to get ahead of the curve – and I know you do – there are a couple of new and exciting subjects to write about. First off is media. Not THE MEDIA. Not Fox News or the Washington Post or whatever, but media. Film. Music. Literature. How does that make you feel? Do you have a single favorite piece of media? Is there one thing that just turns your crank in a way that no other thing does? Write about that. Do you just like one particular format? 35mm film? Vinyl? Lo-fi, Guided By Voices-style music? Write about that. Submit it by Friday, January 21.
The week after media is self. How pretentious is that? Wicked fucking pretentious. Now, with that said, write about self. What makes you you? How come you're not somebody else? Not “what makes you special” or “what's your secret talent,” but what makes an individual an individual? Or whatever. I don't even care anymore. I need to wake up for work in three hours. Just write about self. Should I use a big S in Self? I dunno, that makes it look even more pretentious. Whatever. Submit your essays for that stuff by Friday, January 28.
Thanks for your continued patronage of Writing, Writer, Writest. It's been a bumpy month here, but I think we're back on board for another great run of amazing essays from the loveliest people I know. (HINT: THAT IS YOU.)
Josh Grimmer, Editor-in-Chief