The hardest decision to make in life happens in the gelateria. “That creamy frozen dessert,” I thought this remark could pass off as a swear word. In Rome, there’s a shop at every turn, and the signs constantly drive you towards the icy wonderland, even in the winter’s chill. But as you ask for the size of the cone, suddenly the choice of which flavor to savour barks at you. Mixed berries, for sure! Chocolate? Is that even a question? Then the rum, whisky and Armagnac ones tempt you with their kick. And that’s… Pistachio, of course! What is life without pistachio gelato?
Life cannot be without decisions. Well hello Capt. Obvious, yes, but they bog us down way too often as we would like them to. It is comforting to imagine that alternate universe exists and all possible outcomes at a decision point exist in a separate world. I’m not a theoretical physicist, so I can’t explain whether that is the closer truth, but the cruel fact is that the only outcome that matters happens in the world we exist in. I may well be a billionaire in another reality, enjoying air-flown gelato everyday, but this plebeian here is having none of that in this universe.
We could absolve that responsibility of making decisions, by gazing at the stars and reminding oneself how insignificant one’s puny life mean in the universe, not to mention a single decision in one’s almost tortuously long life, nor the choice of gelato flavors. This works, but not always, not most of the times. In our ordinary meals, we seldom remind ourselves of the 3.1 million children dying each year from poor nutrition. When we’re emotionally afflicted by our relationship issues, thinking about the war victims in Syria doesn’t accelerate the healing process. Yet, don’t be mistaken; we’re still creatures of relativity. We always compare, usually with something closer, or more imaginable.
That’s what we do with our decisions too – to compare. Not only do we look at the choices of our peers, we also ponder over our own alternatives. The latter trips us more often than the former. What could I have done? What if I have chosen otherwise? Questions like these are easily fodder for insomnia.
Here I could have introduced an inspirational quote or two such as “we are our choices” or “it’s our choices that show what we truly are,” in the tone of wise old Dumbledore. Or perhaps a couple of theories hypothesized by economists, theologians or psychologists on the decision-making process. Yet, as mentioned, we rarely think about such far-fetched ideas in fleeting moments of making choices, or when reflecting upon an option made. Our emotional capacity is too limited for that immaculate rationalization.
Then there are also decisions that we have to make, but knowingly that we had wished otherwise. These choices are the hardest to make, when rational thought comes head-on against emotional need. (My mind tells me to try other flavors but my heart really need that pistachio gelato). They nibble our courage away in the quiet of the night, undermining our determination with the fall of the moon.
I hate to give advice and sound philosophical, truly, but to those who need strength in what they are currently going through: believe, and have some kick-ass gelato along the way.
P.S. I’m hungry…