Variety is the Spice of Life
Not a pear tree
At our Bespoke Event over in Auckland recently we spoke about how we all think we want choice, we want more options, more variety, more possibilities, more, more, more. In fact we almost see this choice as a right. And perhaps because we have linked it that way: our right to choose, our right to be autonomous, and even ultimately free, we place a large emphasis on this vast array of things and experiences that lay before us. Which is fine when we are humming along nicely, staying in our own lane and living life just how we want to.
But what happens when we aren’t doing that? When we are having a less-than-amazing day, and we look around at the rest of the world and see what “they” are doing. All of a sudden that variety can seem like a burden or even a responsibility. “What if I don’t choose the right thing? What if “other people” don’t agree with my choice? What if my choices end in failure?”
I am reminded of a book we read at High School: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. In it, she describes herself sitting beneath a huge pear tree, imagining each of the fruits were one of her life choices. From motherhood to writer to university student to wife. And as she sat, looking at all of the delicious pears, but unable to choose which one to eat, they began to ripen and plop to the ground, ultimately rotting at her feet.
Which is what can happen to us.
As women, we have demanded more choice (which we have seem to have equated with freedom), and now that we have it, it can seem overwhelming. So it has become the opposite. All of the possibilities are not at all freeing, in fact they are the very thing that prevent us from living the life we dream of.
One thing I like to do in the morning (as part of a little five step ritual I do) is to think about all of the possible things I could do that day, and then cross things off. In the crossing off, I’m making easy decisions about things I don’t want to do, which (weirdly) then helps me to decide what I do want to do. For some reason it seems easier, and ultimately leads me in the direction of my dreams.
Today I crossed off: buy a new desk, get nails manicured, try on a dress I saw last week, go to the post office, go to Officeworks and vote. I could then clearly see: write a blog, clean up an email list, do some coaching calls and finish a book I’m reading.
I wonder if I’m the only one who sometimes thinks variety is not in fact, the spice of life, but the scourge?
What do you think? Does it sometimes mess with your head?
What things do you want to cross off?