Too Many Decisions

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose during retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available on Click here for her website:

CHITCHAT:  I have slightly altered the name of this blog to “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” It will be the same blog, but it will  match the title of my public lecture on the topic of senior reinvention as well as my pending book: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose after You Retire. The book will contain all the material from my public lecture as well as my blog posts of more than six years. I will announce in this forum when it is published and available for purchase.

Now, on to my blog:

head in hands 2Our lives have become constrained by too many decisions we are called upon to make every day just to get through it. It encompasses everything from what to eat for breakfast to what to put on for bed. That, of course, spills over outside of the home.

Life didn’t used to be this complicated. When you wanted to buy something, there were usually one or two choices, maybe three. Now, there are dozens, each with its own features.

When we want to buy a car, we need to consider so many bells and whistles that come or do not come with it.  It seems that these days we must decide whether to have our air conditioned just so; our derriere warmed by the seat; our music delivered by various means; our roof able to admit fresh air, sunlight, or none of these; our…

When I last went grocery shopping, product labels demanded constant adjudications from me: low-fat, low sugar, no artificial sweetener, yes artificial sweetener, low sodium, organic, and on and on. The meat, produce, dairy, bakery, and household sections were just as bad.

“I don’t care,” I screamed back.  “Just give me a jar of mayonnaise!”

I was wasted by the time I arrived at the checkout stand. I perked up when I saw my favorite box boy, a sweet, young man who had been working there for years.

“Hi Chad,” I greeted him.

He smiled and responded, “paper or plastic.” That was the last straw! I considered jumping ten feet in the air and landing on his throat but was constrained by my decades of socially acceptable behavior training. After all, those three words made up the bulk of his on-the-job conversation. Who was I to interfere with his brief moment of importance? So, I gave Chad a pass.

I need a fairy god-decider in my life. However, I know such a wish is fraught with potential problems; my official decider could become an authoritarian and morph into my fairy god-dictator. No, I don’t want that. What I want is a decider who will decide for me when I decide I want him to decide, and who will melt into the background when I decide that, also. If such a being or spirit exists, I’m unaware of it. Looks like I’ll just have to do it myself, like usual. But, right now, I need a nap–groan.


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Photo credit: nick farnhill on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA


Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging

2 responses to “Too Many Decisions

  1. Isabel Leonard

    A book came out a couple of decades ago called, if I remember correctly, “The Tyranny of Choice.” Either that author or someone else quoted a study showing that most people would rather turn back the clock. The remainder are people whose chief joy in life is bargain-hunting.
    I shop at Whole Foods in Lafayette where at least one can be reasonably sure that the food is ethically acceptable. Clothes and airlines are harder.

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