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August 1, 2011 / windlessly

When choice becomes a burden (aka how to make lasagna without having a meltdown)

I went to Nob Hill Foods today with my cousin to shop for a few items. We were making lasagna and had a pretty basic list of things to get- sauce, ground beef, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, eggs, onions, and garlic (oh and lasagna sheets). I wasn’t familiar with the layout of the store since it was my first time there (Wegmans will always be my true love… the one back in Syracuse New York of course =P), so it was much harder than I expected to pick up those few items. I didn’t realize grocery shopping could feel like such a chore, especially when I had to hunt down each item individually, then realize that the next item was on the other side of the store where I had just been. And I know variety is sometimes a convenience, but all the different prices and options that Nob Hill offered for each food item just stressed me out. First comes brand. Then comes size of the package. Fat free or reduced fat? Spinach tomato sauce or spicy basil? Oven-ready or enriched wheat lasagna sheets? (And finally, which seat should I take?) It didn’t help that the store put up large, very noticeable price labels on every single item shelved there. I would reach for one item and feel self-conscious about my choice, looking around to see if there was a lower price, starting to feel a little like those comparison-shopping-compulsive asian moms.

Fortunately I made it out of the grocery store without too much of a meltdown. I’m lucky my cousin was there or else I probably would have given up halfway through and ordered take-out instead of attempting to prepare something at home. (But just for the record, the lasagna that we made was delicious.)

Anyways that little trip to Nob Hill today got me thinking about choices. We certainly have a lot of decisions to make in life, some on a daily basis. Some of such little importance that we barely think about them at all. (Opening the silverware at breakfast and deciding to break out the pair of chopsticks instead of a fork, for example.) But sometimes we are hindered by an overwhelming amount of choice. It doesn’t REALLY matter what the color of your next phone or ipod will be (yet I remember spending a good evening debating between orange, purple, and silver for my ipod nano). Just like it wouldn’t really have mattered if I had bought Brand X for lasagna sheets (wow! 30 cents cheaper!)  instead of Brand Y. Granted, I don’t grocery shop a whole lot on my own yet, so maybe those cents do add up, but still, this applies to other decisions in life as well.

I think the reason behind our indecision and the stress that comes with too much choice is the fear of regret. Afraid that you’ll pick one option, only to find out later how awesome the other option was and then live to regret it for the rest of your life. It is because of this that sometimes I welcome external events that restrict my options. Oh no, I don’t know if I’ll have more fun at Amusement Park #1 or Amusement Park #2, what do I do? Oh look, Amusement Park #1 isn’t open tomorrow when I want to go, I guess I’m going to Amusement Park #2 then. Amusement Park #1 might still have been more fun, but now it doesn’t matter. It was impossible for me to pick that choice at the moment, therefore I will not regret it later (ok maybe a little if you feel disappointed about the unfortunate circumstances, but certainly not the kick-yourself-in-the-shins kind of regret that we all hate).

So the bottom line here is to learn to be decisive in life. Or at least learn to not be hampered by INdecision. You’ll be a lot less stressed and will be more efficient with your decisions. And you’ll be able to make better lasagna too because you’ll be at home cooking, not still at the store deciding between brands.

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2 Comments

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  1. Melody / Aug 13 2011 4:01 pm

    I love lasagna! Glad yours came out delicious. I would have gone the quick and easy route and just picked up something already made at the grocery. I like your point not to get tripped up by very small things. True, it doesn't matter if your phone cover is blue or purple. But if a person gets worked up over tiny things, how will that person ever cope with big life choices and problems? And now you've made me hungry for lasagna!!~Melody

  2. a.lee / Aug 13 2011 9:19 pm

    Awww but half the fun is in making the lasagna! =PYeah I figure there are a lot more important things to decide in life, so I might as well save my time for those things rather than insignificant decisions. Now go eat some lasagna! =D

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