the paradox of choice

I've been thinking a lot lately about the paradox of choice - the idea that when people have more choices, it actually leads to greater anxiety.   My son's homecoming from Haiti has caused me to analyze many of the ways we live life here in America.  I am not one of those people who subscribes to the idea that internationally adopted children are "lucky" because they now get to grow up in America.  I think that children benefit from life in a family instead of an institution, but I really believe that there are pros and cons to every culture.  I am aware of some of the benefits he gets from living in America - certainly education, safety, and privilege being at the forefront.  But I am also humble enough to think through some of the parts of our lifestyle that might be less than ideal.

I am often introspective about the contrast between our family life and his life at the orphanage, and one of the things that stands out is the amount of choices we have here.  I'm not always sure this is a good thing.  At the orphanage, life was very predictable.  The nannies didn't have to make a lot of choices.   They wore scrubs every day, and had few distractions from caring for the children.  The kids had a set schedule each day.  They weren't going to Disneyland or running errands.  But they were content.

I'm really wondering about how to simplify our life.  I'm starting to wonder how the reduction of choices might affect our family in positive ways.  What if we had less clothing?  What if we went fewer places?  What if we drastically pared down our meals, our errands, our toys, our activities?

I don't have any answers or big revelations yet.  But it's what I'm chewing on today.  That, and some orange Tic-Tacs.

1 comment:

  1. Kristen, that is an absolutely awesome idea. I mean it. People don't generally think about the possible negatives about all the "stuff" in our lives, especially in how that stuff that is supposed to improve our quality of life actually distracts from it. At least I don't. But I will now. So thanks.


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