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Amanda Poppei

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"The human spirit yearns for goodness as the eye longs for beauty." ~ Felix AdlerAmanda Poppei
Updated: 3 hours 14 min ago

In Praise of Having No Choice

Fri, 01/17/2014 - 15:30
It's been a long time since my last blog post, and I think part of what happened was that the holiday season intervened. I love the winter holidays, which are so rich with tradition and family, but I also find them overwhelming. Not only do we have all the regular decisions to make (what to make for dinner, which project to tackle at work, how to fit in exercise) we are suddenly confronted with all sorts of additional choices: what to give to Aunt Bertha and which New Year's open house to go to and how to celebrate our family's rituals while holding onto our intellectual integrity. It's exhausting. I was thinking about this idea--the exhaustion that comes with too many choices--the other day, as I sat on my couch with no choices at all. I was stuck there, actually, underneath a sleeping, feverish toddler. My phone was out of reach, my laptop was inaccessible, and no one else was home. I loved it. A year or so ago I read a great article on how tiring decisions are in The Atlantic. The article posited that what we see as a lack of willpower sometimes comes from just having made too many decisions in a day. It advocated taking choice out of our lives as much as possible: picking one breakfast and eating it every day, taking the same route to work all the time. Of course, I've heard the opposite advice too--that trying something new, even in little ways, can spur our creativity. There must be some balance, I guess, between the joys of newness and the exhaustion of over-choice. All I know is that I'm grateful for the a-sleeping-toddler-is-on-top-of-me-so-I-can't-move moments. They bring me back to the idea of just being, not doing anything, not making any choices, but simply being present to what is for a moment. May you find a moment of no choice this weekend--or may you choose to create one.
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