Roadrunner Musings

The Agony of Decisions – A Short Story

I feel like my soul is split in half! “Split in half.” That’s a joke; more like splintered into a thousand pieces.

‘Hurry up!’ she says. Yeah, right. That’s just what I need. If I lift a foot to hurry my pace, I feel like I’ll become uprooted by the wind and blow across the desert like a tumbleweed. These decisions can’t be made lightly. I need time to think.

Why does everyone have to bombard me with their advice? It’s like an invasive weed in my heart. Here I am, on my hands and knees, pulling out the weeds on one side, while they sow seeds on the other and I’m watering it all with my tears.

What can I do? Speak my mind and risk being ostracized by everyone I know, or worse? Should I remain silent and watch as the situation deteriorates? It’s better to say something now and stop the snowball before it gathers more material and crushes everything, right?

But what if it would have stopped on its own? What if the sun comes out hot and melts it all away before it ever gains momentum? What if I’m wrong and should simply keep my mouth shut?

I’m torn. “Splintered” is a good word for the feeling. There aren’t two ways to go. There are thousands of choices to consider.

Back to my principles, that’s what I should consider. What are my core principles? What is my ultimate goal? What is it that drives me?

The Stoics say to live and die by a prescribed set of principles, and that’s what I feel like I’ve been doing. It was easy until now. Live well so that death is welcomed. Be honest so that people trust you. Don’t let negative emotions overwhelm your judgement and rule your life.

But here I am, stuck with a life or death decision. Is everyone waiting for my answer? Will my choice to voice my opinion influence others? What’s next? Will there be a line of people outside my virtual door waiting to hear my advice, set their own dreams aside, and follow my brilliant assessment of the situation?

I doubt that.

It could be worse. Once I take a stand, I could be ridiculed, thrown out of society, tossed out alone into the cold to fend for myself forever.

“Screw them!” That’s what I want to say, how I wish I could feel. My opinions are mine alone. They don’t have to agree with me, but they do have to respect that I have the right to make my own judgment about things that directly affect me.

But then I start to cow. Sometimes my need to belong to the group trumps my personal convictions about what is “right.” I need friends more than I need to be right. It makes me sick.

Here she comes again. “And what will you be having for dessert tonight?”

I shift in my seat, take a deep breath and make the bold statement I’ve been agonizing over for the last ten minutes, “To hell with the calories! I’ll have the chocolate cake.”