Most people that know me are aware of how cripplingly indecisive I am. Would I like tea or coffee? Give me about five minutes, I have to weigh up the pros and cons. It’s disgusting. And more than a little bit psychotic.
I comfort myself with the fact that I’m not the only one that frets a bit every time someone asks if I want to eat at the pub or get a takeaway, or hops back and forth in front of the vending machine as if my choice of crisps is somehow make or break. I’m just conscientious, right? I just like to know that I’ve made the right choice, that this was the best possible option for me. I get all smug about it in my head. Yes, I’m incredibly annoying. Take comfort in the fact I used to be a lot worse – I’ve trained myself to make the little choices without thinking now, because I know it just doesn’t matter what crisps I have. (Big step, right? RIGHT?!)
So, most of the time I don’t let it get to me any more. Okay, so maybe one path is better than another, but we’re all faced with these fifty-fifty choices every day, and I’m bound to pick the wrong one sometimes. Who cares? I haven’t got time to worry about it, and that’s a good thing.
I’ve conquered my fear of little choices. But that still leaves the medium ones. And I don’t even want to talk about the big ones, or I’ll just start whimpering again. Anyway, back to the medium ones: I’ve transferred all of my tea vs. coffee angst onto making slightly more important but equally stupid choices, like where to go on my holiday this year or what to do for my birthday. It’s this last one that is causing such a stress right now. It’s on Saturday.
I realise I only get to make this choice once a year, and that’s what scares me the most. Get it wrong this time, and I have a whole year to kick myself and an even bigger amount of pressure to get it right next time. Because – God forbid – if I cock it up again next year then that’s two bad birthdays in a row, and then the third year I’ll just convince myself I’m cursed and hide under the duvet all day.
The thing is – I don’t know what I want to do. And everyone keeps throwing ideas at me. As well as the usual family birthday party, I’ve got dinner plans with my best friend, and I’ve already had a big dinner party to celebrate last week, but also:
1. My housemate wants to take me to see Avenue Q again. It’s like ‘our’ show. And it’s her birthday this week too. Sounds pretty fitting, but we just haven’t decided which would be the best day to go.
2. Another friend suggested we go to The Lost Lovers Ball at Battersea Power Station. WOW, it looks amazing, and I know I’d remember it forever. But I really don’t know if it’s my thing. Should I stick with what I know for such a personal time of year?
3. Someone else suggested we go and see some standup. Micky Flanagan was in the area last week, and his ‘ambience’ routine makes me laugh so much it hurts, even when I’ve seen it twelvety times. It’s just, as you might have guessed, it was last week he was in the area. I sort of forgot to book tickets.
There were other ideas as well, such as a mini-break to Italy with friends, a trip to the seaside, and even a good old-fashioned night out getting shitfaced, but the fear of making the wrong choice and sitting in Battersea Power Station going ‘I wish I’d gone to the bloody seaside’ has paralysed me into deciding against all of them. And yet the dinner party, the family party and the meal out with friends is still celebrating in style, and I’m already enjoying my birthday celebrations. So why did I need to do any of those other things anyway?
Well, that’s because a little voice in my brain is screaming ‘YOU’RE 23. YOU DON’T GET MANY BIRTHDAYS IN LIFE. YOU WANT THEM ALL TO BE SUPER-SPECIAL AND MEMORABLE OR YOU’LL REGRET IT LATER.’ So am I not doing enough? Am I not making my birthday ‘special’ enough? Or am I confusing ‘special’ with ‘easier to brag about when I’m too old to have anything else to say’? Because, let’s face it – I could do all of the above, but maybe I’d actually better enjoy doing the things I’ve already got planned? Less stress, less expense (I haven’t exactly got stacks of unused coins piled up around the house right now anyway), and more about me enjoying time with the people that matter.
So there, I’ve decided. And yet I know I’ll spend at least part of the big day wondering if I should have gone to Italy. Or the seaside. Or Battersea Power Station. Or stayed under the duvet.
Image nicked from Tela Chhe‘s photostream.