“I will admit that the older I get, the harder it is for me to make a decision about some things.”
I’ve been pondering that ever since I read it. Wracking my brain is more like it, trying to find something that has been harder to decide than when I was younger.
One of the top two or three toughest moments in my life was the need to sell my Greenwich Village home three years ago and leave New York. I wept and wailed and beat my fists for a weekend over it. But all that moaning had everything to do with heartbreak and nothing to do with indecision. There was no other choice.
In the past – way in the past – I could change clothes three or four times before leaving the house. I would dither over which earrings went best with an outfit. Or which shoes. And did I need a scarf. I’d stand at the mirror almost paralyzed over whether I was properly dressed clear down to the shade of nude-colored stockings. It took eons for me to learn that no one else notices or cares about these details.
Since I don’t have much money, spending is never a matter of indecision. Want a new laptop? Too bad. No money for it. Wouldn’t it be nice to have those terrific Roman shades for all ten windows? Again, too bad. They are all non-standard sizes and require special manufacture. No money for that right now, so no indecision opportunities.
Plus, I’ve had so many financial ups and downs in my life, living on pennies at times and spending like a newly-minted, pop-tart star at others, that now I’m a master at keeping my financial house in order. If there is a good reason to overspend, I know exactly what it will take to catch up, so it’s never an agonizing choice.
My only regular moments of indecision are whether to post a blog story I’ve written. Did I go too far this time? Will it offend when that’s not my intention? But please, these are not big-time quandaries.
So in no way meaning to pick on kenju, I can’t come up with any age-related decision difficulties. If anything, I’m better at decision-making than when I was younger for two reasons:
- I’ve made so many mistakes in the past, I’m better equipped with experience now
- I’ve learned that short of holding a gun to my head, almost no decisions are irrevocable
On the other hand, I have not been faced (yet) with decisions that involve much risk. There were no alternatives to retirement, selling my home and leaving New York, which in other circumstances might be risky moves worth greater contemplation than I gave them.
Maybe my life is too placid to be faced with hard decisions. Or perhaps I'm so averse to indecision (it feels to me like standing on tip-toe at the edge of a precipice) that I have no patience for it and just take the leap - so to speak.
It appears from a little web research I did, that decision-making skills do deteriorate with age, but most of the pertinent articles require subscriptions to the medical journals or are written in such dense academic-ese that I got a headache trying to read them, although this one has some useful information.
But I would rather rely on you, readers, to tell us your experience with decision making in late life.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, an announcement about Mother's Day.]