Saturday, July 4, 2009

Freedom from Choice

Options are important, and I truly believe that a true measure of quality of life is not what we have, but rather what we have access to. One of the most memorable days of my life came when I had my first real job after 30 years of education (13 years after high school, not including a postdoctoral work). It was the first time that I was in the grocery store and didn't have to make decisions based on how much was in my bank account. If I wanted to buy some crazy f'n Greek olives, I could buy crazy f'n Greek olives! The once discretionary purchases were now completely feasible without prior calculation.

But with options comes choice, and with choice comes decisions. When you think all day for a living you don't want to have to make decisions. You want the decisions made for you, or better, you want to be in a position where you don't have to make them at all. Thus, I have seeded my existence with daily processes that do not require a decision to be made.

For example, About ten years ago I used to hate getting ready for work. I didn't want to pick out clothes or find two socks that matched. To relieve the need to make the choice I threw out all my socks and bought 20 pairs of the same thing (the one's I liked best turned out to be womens', but that's a story for another day). Now each morning I get out two socks. No need to pick out which pair or even match them. Slack.

Now I'm moving the same concept into clothing. My pal Chris once said that he'd like to get 7 matching coveralls so that he didn't need to make a choice about what to wear. Same concept.

Usually I only buy stuff that can always match; neutral tones and patterns that can't look too stupid in any combination. But now I need to take it to the next level. I need everything to be machine washable and dry-able in warm water so I can do all of my laundry in one load.

That's my plan. Starting today I'm only going to get clothing items that can be worn in any combination and wash together.

Of course, it will take me a few years to implement my plan because I don't really buy new clothes. The old ones work really well and as long as I don't get fat they should last me for a long time. I still have ancient threads from college that works.

The idea is a good one and will give me freedom from choice. That way I can focus on more important issues.

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