Decisions are a tricky thing and most of the time, we don’t realize just how many decisions we make on a day to day basis.
Wake up. Should I have coffee first? Stretch first? Meditate first? Write first? Get straight to work?
There are so many decisions that can be made. So many different paths our lives could take. There’s just no way of predicting how each seemingly insignificant decision will shape how we feel and act, what events it will unfold and what opportunities it will reveal.
This absurd freedom is overwhelming, and so, we have seem to have evolved a mechanism to reduce some of the freedom. It’s what we call a “routine”.
Just like with breathing, a routine puts decisions on auto-pilot. Then, we can somewhat predict the outcome of the series of decisions that we make. We did it yesterday, so it will most likely follow the same pattern today.
But what happens if we say no to our routine?
We feel lost.
I’ve been living with my grandparents for the last week and a half. My first instinct was to default back to the routine that I had all the other times I spent with them. A rather chill routine in which I struggle to focus and get real work done.
But, today I woke up and I felt like doing something different. So, I followed the routine that I had in Switzerland: the complete opposite. There I was working over 8 hours a day.
Now, I find myself, in casual social clothes and ready to go to work, sitting inside a camper, in the middle of a farm.
What the hell am I doing?
I am overthinking.
I am overthinking how each decision that I make will play out. I am trying to anticipate what will have happened by the end of the day, should I choose to enroll in a certain task now, at 9 a.m. in the morning.
No routine = decisions off auto-pilot.
Shit. What now?
Take you seat. And now gently close your eyes. I’d like you to pay attention to your breath. Just let it come and go. Just… observe it, don’t try to change it. It can be shallow, it can be deep. Just let it be.Sam Harris (in almost every guided mediation)
Another thing about decisions – and another similarity to breathing – is that I can’t really stop it.
What I can stop is the judging. The trying to anticipate. The trying to plan. The regretting the previous and dreading the following.
I can only strive to be aware of how I feel right now. What I believe that I need to do. What will feel right to me in this moment.
Not following a clear routine, saying no to a usual pattern of doing things is uncomfortable. But with that discomfort also comes freedom. The freedom to try something new. To open my eyes to opportunities and solutions that I usually don’t see. To find paths that I usually don’t take.
From the outside, it might look the same. But just like with meditation, the real change is within me.
This is the ugly and beautiful nature of decisions. There’s no right or wrong. No good or bad. We are completely free to follow whichever pattern we choose.
Isn’t that scary?
Isn’t that beautiful?
Isn’t that freeing?