Blinded by Options

Options food choicesMarch is not only the preview of spring, but it’s also National Health Month. So, in the spirit of a true spring-cleaning, I decided to do a whole body cleanse.

Go big or go home.

I have, for 3 days now, abstained from sugar, gluten, dairy, anything white, caffeine and yes, even my beloved wine. I’ve made several treks to thegrocery store in search of healthy alternatives. As I stash my healthy eats I notice…

My refrigerator is stuffed with “stuff.”

There are marinades, more mustards than any self respecting chef would need, vegetables good and rotten, and all sorts of beverage options from Pellegrino to probiotic drinks – oh, and the water. My husband collects water bottles like a certified hoarder. All icy cold, of course.

This got me to thinking – life is like my refrigerator. It gives you tons of options, from the good to the deviously perilous. Sometimes, your refrigerator gets so packed you can’t ferret out the good choices. Left unchecked, well- intentioned food goes moldy. This is true for meals…and for life.

We’re bombarded with options in this society. It’s a virtual smorgasbord of choices. We have:Options too many choices

  • Business options
  • Educational options
  • Clothing options
  • Career options
  • Transportation choices
  • Enough healthcare options to drive a savant mad
  • Payment options
  • Housing options
  • And many others

We’re offered options for where to do things, who should do things, who we should do things with, when to do things, what things to do and how to do things – I’m sure I’ve left SOMETHING out. Being such a consumer-based society, in my humble opinion, has gotten a bit out of hand. We suffer from clutter; physical clutter, emotional clutter, information clutter.

The more privileged you are, the more options you have. Not all options are available to the average person, I would know nothing about leveraging currency exchange rates or off-shoring business assets, for example. I’m also aware the disadvantaged have fewer options than most.

We’re reminded of our options by the television, in supermarkets and retail stores, in print media, on the radio and God help us –

On the Internet.

We’re presented with so many options, at times, I can’t bear to face them. I can’t speak for you, but sometimes it’s paralyzing, confusing, over-informative and, let’s admit it, over-whelming. Not only that, I can’t see the healthy choices in my refrigerator because it’s chock-full-of-options.

I’m thinking, because this issue is so far reaching, it’s best to start by cleaning out the fridge, then I might move on to simplifying other areas. I need to see my healthy options. I need to clean up any hidden, rotting, possibilities.

Are you doing some spring-cleaning, and if so, does it involve more than your closet? Feel free to continue the discussion below.

Let the cleansing continue….
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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own Well Lived LifeWriter, Artist, Coach by drinking in the beauty around her, following her passion, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie.
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23 Replies to “Blinded by Options”

  1. Oh yes I am spring cleaning to prepare the house for sale. I am totally cluttered with twenty years of living in my present habitat. Sometimes it is wonderful but other times it is a living nightmare. I suffer from all of it: physical clutter, emotional clutter and information clutter but I am working on it.

    I have my sights set on the mountains of Georgia where I will be closer to my grandsons and surrounded by my favorite environment. It is this burning desire that keeps me going through my husband’s temper tantrums (I have long known his passive-aggressive tendencies) but lately I’ve given some serious thought to cleaning out my marriage too! But moving is always hard (and wow when did things get SO heavy?)

    In Georgia I will have my little cabin with a room dedicated to just me and my studio; in my present house I bargain for space on the dining room table or on the coffee table…sigh. I can’t wait to make the move!

    So I have tuned out a lot of the clutter in Life and, for the moment anyway, I am Georgia bound! It’s time for me to start painting again!

    1. Wow, Deborah – that’s a lot of transition! I had to laugh when you asked, “When did things get so heavy?” Still, it seems like a lot less effort when you’re chasing a dream. I wish you all the best and hope ALL your dreams come true! Yes, you should start painting again!!! ~m

      1. Thanks Michelle…I’ll check in when I get settled. May I also add that your blogs have been the blessing that I have needed to get through my weeks! I got behind as I wasn’t on the computer much but I’ve printed out each one and took some quiet time to read and reflect on each one that I missed! And, wow, I am more determined now than ever! You always have just what I need and just when I need it! I am so grateful I found you when I did! Thanks for all that you have given me!

        1. Wow, Deborah, thank you so much for your kind words. I just write it, and have no idea why. Lately, I’ve felt like I might not have much new to say…I guess it isn’t about me at all. So humbled to be of service. Thank you!

  2. This is soooo true. I have been following a blog called Becoming Minimalist. As an artist, I will always have ‘stuff’ because I can see the potential of how it can be used. But, I am making progress at decluttering. I recently retired from my day job and I need to live a ‘new’ life, and not be encumbered by the art life I led while juggling the demands of full time employment. A fresh start feels wonderful.

    1. I’m glad it hit the spot, Susan. Congratulations on having the opportunity to recreate yourself. It’s such a gift to be able to step into a new, more fitting life as you grow. Kind of like changing clothes. Hmmm….maybe a topic for another week. 😉

  3. A lot of options? that sounds quite lucky.I do not , nor have often had many options, even in my fridge !
    Perhaps it might be a good cleansing idea to buy less , and donate the money or goods saved to a charity or good cause ? for people with too many options , in their fridge , literally, and elsewhere. It sounds a huge luxury to suffer from such plenty, in an unequal world

    1. Great idea, Teresa. I do regularly donate to charities. I find it a bit of a challenge to learn to buy for 2 people after having provided for children for so many years. I wish you had more options. It certainly is a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

  4. Good for you in the cleaning out. Two years ago my word of the year was simplify. I was very surprised the way it manifested itself for me about halfway through the year. That is when I discovered the Minimalists – and I started cleaning out. Two years later, I still go through things – it was shocked to see multiple bottles of mustard in the refrigerator – all expired! And the list goes on! It feels good to get rid of things – and put things back out into the universe where someone that needs them can use them.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Vickie. It feels good to have only what I’ll use. With the issue of too many choices of what DECIDING what to use, I guess I’ll have to pay less attention to everyone and everything that demands our attention. Quite a challenge in this consumer-based age.

  5. We recently sold everything we had in storage and have opted for owning far less. It is so freeing. I even got rid of most of my clothes. I now have a basic winter wardrobe and a summer one that can be mixed and matched. It makes choosing what to wear so much easier.

    When it comes to making choices, I consider whether the choice fits with my values or the direction I am heading. For example. I want a simplier life so before purchasing anything I ponder if I really need it. Before booking a course I ponder if it fits with my direction. Make choices has become easier when i narrow down my wants in life from a simplier perspective.

    1. Kama, it sounds like you’ve been able to work out a useful system. I find it’s not just material things. So many options come through via Internet and email. So much information, via news and print media.It seems wise, I think, to ratchet it back in most areas and refuse to look at options for a while. Simplicity. Yes!

  6. Michelle, I think we’re on exactly the same page. I too am wondering whether the intelligence of our country is not thwarted by this endless distraction of choices. Thank you for this lovely post, again.

  7. What a splendid idea to start the clutter removal process with your fridge, Michelle! I’ll put it on my list ;-).

    I suppose part of my declutter process is adding to the mix (I do tend to be odd in how I wield my problem solving skills). I’ve picked a room that I will enjoy as a special space and am deciding what I really want to have in it. As a result, everything else is easy to remove.

  8. I agree that the options are blinding. Cleaning the fridge is a great way to start. I am also in agreement that there is always overlap in life. When your fridge is a mess, so often are other parts of your life. When you clean the fridge, you clean the body, you clean the life!

  9. What a great post Michelle! I like the metaphor of the refrigerator. There are so many choices in life and sometimes I need to ask myself some important questions before making a decision. Does this direction/path fit with my core values? Is this new retreat I created in line with my vision for my business? I am all about living a sweeter, simpler life and it’s amazing what I can get along without and still have a quality life style. For me, it’s about clarity and discernment, is this really what I want?

  10. With 2 young kids and a very over indulgent grandmother, our space is beyond cluttered! My bf and I spent 3 days clearing out and organizing things when we kiddos weren’t home. I was convinced they were going to be really upset when they got home. So much so that quite a bit of the toys went into bags in the shed. Instead, when the saw their clean rooms and were able to actually SEE what they had and easily get to the toys they wanted to play with, they were ecstatic and grateful!

    Now, I just need to remind myself what a HUGE difference it makes for all of us to be able to see what’s available and to limit options mostly for sanity’s sake.

  11. Great post as usual!!

    For me recently I went through some de-cluttering in my technology and social media platforms. For example, I unfriended about 50 people on Facebook, removed myself from over 50 Facebook groups, and unsubscribed from countless email newsletters.

    I have to admit it feels good to not be quite as distracted. Enjoyed your perspective here!

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