I’ve been thinking lately about the not-deciding that we do that is really deciding. Do you know what I mean? Those decisions that we put off, thinking we’ll know for sure sometime, and yet, somehow, we never do? Eventually, over time, the not-deciding becomes, of course, a decision.
The obvious example is the have-another-child decision. I wrote here about our decision not to have a third child, and it was, ultimately, something we decided. But that was preceded by many years of “well, we’ll know if it’s time,” and }oh, not now, maybe someday,” and “yeah, we’ll discuss it later …” hemming and hawing. And, over time, the delaying and not-deciding builds up, like so many imperceptible snowflakes, each tiny and dissolvable, into an immovable snow bank. The decision is made and sometimes we’re not even aware of having made it.
The other way this has manifested in my personal life is in the not-deciding deciding to stay in our house. For years we went back and forth on whether to move to a suburb and if so which one. Many of our dearest friends live near each other. I looked at several houses in that neighborhood. I love that neighborhood. But just, somehow, we didn’t. We stayed put. And now leaving feels inconceivable. I’m not sure what the not-now-maybe-someday turned into not-ever. But eventually, without my noticing, it did.
On some subconscious level we must be aware of the putting-off that amounts to a decision, right? It feels easier to delay a formal decision even though we know, as we do that, that we are tacitly making one. I am curious about this process, and when it is that our subconscious awareness of our bias seeps into our active mind, and when we realize that we have already decided something, even if we continue putting it off.
Have you made any any not-deciding decisions? Were you aware of it as you did it?
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