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Too many choices. Sunday March 27, 2016

It started out as an easy exercise. To replace my old bed. When I bought that bed I just ordered it over the phone without ever seeing it. I have been happy with it for over a decade.

My partner went to the local bed shop and told me later I would need to go and try out the beds.

This seemed ridiculous a bed is a bed. I mean isn't it just a choice between a hard and a soft mattress, between a double or a queen size bed. As soon as I walked in the shop I was overwhelmed by the number of beds and the wide variety. Who knew? There were memory, microfibre, European, Latex, anti-gravity, chiropractic, Eco Touch, Posture, Spine Aligner, pocket sprung, open coil, orthopaedic.

That was just the mattresses. The pillows have so many varieties too, foam,(why is it that the only thing I have that has memory is foam?) latex, gel infused memory foam, feathers, organic cotton, bamboo pillow, and there are different shapes and sizes. Both pillows and beds come in soft medium and hard and extra soft and extra hard.

When did life become so complicated? When did there become so many choices for simple items? Once bread was either sliced or unsliced brown or white bread. Now there are so many varieties they fill a whole aisle in the supermarket. Shampoo was once for dry or normal hair, now the special ingredients read like a grocery list or a chemists prescription.

Even in the world of learning to de-stress, nothing is simple. There are so many options to help us unwind, relax and to become calm. To name a few: there is mindfulness, yoga, meditation, positive thinking, breathing techniques, and so many more. There is a plethora of books, experts and music to choose from.

Television and radio used to have few channels where now there are so many both free to air and Paytv, AM, FM, digital as well as option to listen and watch online at a convenient time.

Choices have brought variety to our lives but sometimes I yearn for a simpler life and simple solutions. Am I sounding like a grumpy old woman? I do like much of what technology and choices have given me but there is a movement to go back to a simpler time even in a small way. Many young people prefer vinyl records and record players are being manufactured again. People make their own soap, their own bread, their own shampoo.

I would like you to contribute any simple ideas on any subject that makes your life easier.

So let us appreciate the little things, the simple things in life.

A Moodscope Member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Mary Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 12:06am

Had to laugh )in a nice way). You remind me of my husband who often comments crossly that he does not want choice. he just wants what he wants!

Frankie Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 12:34am

Oh mine too Mary; seeing him trying to choose bacon in a big supermarket is priceless! Maybe it's a male thing? Frankie

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 12:11am

What can I say. Your husband is a wise man. He obviously knows what he wants which is why he chose you!!
Thanks for making me smile.

Frankie Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 12:40am

I wonder whether it is an age thing Leah - at what point do we start sounding like our parents and grandparents? I don't think it's being grumpy; I think it is simply a case of being "of our time". I too enjoy keeping things simple. And yes, when I am tired and achey, the plethora of choice is difficult to handle. So, what makes my life easier? A similar shopping list each week, and similar meals... we now eat a simple soup and salad at least twice a week and are feeling healthier as a result. Frankie

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:17am

Frankie, Thanks for your reply. An age thing, not sure about that when I am so young!! I have always been like this,maybe I was born old. Thanks for your idea about simple meals.

Zareen Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 7:18am

I agree that sometimes we are so in undated with choices that it is very difficult to know which direction to go in. It sometimes becomes extremely complicated.

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:18am

Zareen thanks for your comment. Complications can be stressful.

Anonymous Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 8:16am

Don't start me Leah! Please! When we occasionally went to MacDonald's with the children, I couldn't cope with the barrage of questions aimed at me. I thought ordering a burger was fairly simple. I made a joke of it every time we went in.I honestly think the world has gone a little crazy with far too much choice. And of course it's all to do with consumerism and greed. In Carrefour here in France, there are at least two aisles of cabinets containing yoghurt and the aisles are massive stretching half the length of the shop.But when I lived in Macedonia (former Yugoslavia) a few years ago, there were two types of cheese only, white (feta) and yellow (cows milk cheese). I don't think it's an age thing that makes us think there's too much choice. There just is! Amusing thought provoking blog Leah. Thanks.Julxx

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:21am

Thanks Jul, Only two cheeses to choose from- not sure I could handle that but it would be simple! I agree about it not being an age thing except for that fact there are many more choices in everything than there were when we were young. Thanks for European references.

Ella Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 8:33am

I couldn't agree more - but that's what rampant capitalism does. It needs to sell more and more stuff, it requires giving an apparent choice, seeding the idea that you need something slightly different, better, updated. I recently sold my house with large loft and garden shed. I now live in 3 rooms - no loft, no garage, no shed - and I've never been more contended. I bought a campervan but it turns out that's just another thing to equip and fill and look after so that's going. I'd rather walk out with a pack on my back. I find it liberating, lightening, to own less and less. And having a smaller living space keeps that in check.

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:24am

Ella, How strong of you to avoid the advertising and seek a simpler life. I admire you living in 3 rooms and finding it liberating.

Ella Mon, Mar 28th 2016 @ 9:50am

Ah Leah, how kind. Age may have something to do with it! I do get overwhelmed by too much choice. <makes mental note to sort through clothes!>

Sheena Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 8:48am

Less is definitely more fun: less maintenance, less to store, less to insure ... Choice can be good if we use it to our own needs: simple food well prepared, plenty of sleep (on a comfortable bed!), and some exercise we enjoy
Thank you for a thought provoking blog Leah

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:26am

Sheena, Thanks for your thoughtful reply. "less is definitely more fun" that will never be an advertising motto.

Hopeful One Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 8:48am

Hi Leah- a very thought provoking blog. I have always maintained that " to have too much choice is to have no choice at all' . In our consumer driven world choice has come to be associated with happiness - in other words by being able to choose what we want rather than what we need ( remember my list when buying anything- Do you need it? Do you want it' Can you afford it? Does it work . Only buy if all are answered in the affirmative.) will lead to happiness or some form of it . It never occurred to us that it doesn't necessarily work that way !

The Joke Squdron was operating in Afganistan and came up with this one.

Three dead soldiers want make a phone call from Hell which is next door to Heaven, where they live , to remind their relatives about their harsh conditions while on Earth. Their Nationalities were American, British and Afghan. So the American made a call and the Devil , who is in charge of Hell, made him pay $ 200 , then the Briton made a call and the Devil made him to pay £2 to reflect the ofact that he was less well off than the American . Lastly the Afghan made a call and the Devil made him pay a cent . Both the American and Briton complain that it is not fair and the Devil says to them "The Afghan call was a local call whereas yours was International "

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:28am

Hopeful one, "to have too much choice is to have no choice of all" thanks for that as it explains it all.

Lexi Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 1:37pm

Thanks for making me laugh this am HO. :)

Eva Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:09am

I am not good with choice especially when tired or down, it makes me fractious. I tend to shop w an exact list and don't even observe the other choices. My husband knows when I am in a certain frame of mind that offering me choice just doesn't work, the response will be that I don't care and if pushed I'd rather go without. My mum finds my preference for the same simple foods quite bewildering and boring, but then I find the fact that she has had the same hair style for the last 40 years boring beyond belief. ;)

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:30am

Eva, I agree. I can not make a decision when I am tired and low. I had to smile about you and your mum. Thanks for your interesting reply.

Anonymous Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:42am

Eva. You made me laugh about your mother's hair style! I do prefer simple healthy food but it makes choice very limited in what I buy as I go for health rather than taste. I hope it tastes OK too of course. Happy Easter! Julxx

Sally Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:26am

A very thought provoking blog, Leah. Thank you. It is so true too! I am overwhelmed by choice and a supermarket especially, but the bed buying analogy rings very true too!

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:31am

Sally, Thanks. is there anything you do to make life simpler or choices easier?

Sami Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 10:18am

Leah, thanks for your (so true) blog. As a hsp I tend to get overwhelmed at places where there are many people and then it is hard to stay in touch with myself. Making lists for groceries help to stay focussed. But in general it helps me to first decide what it is I want and then to go out and get it. Hope this helps in any way. Love, Sami

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 10:32am

Thanks for your advice, it was very helpful.

Sophie Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 10:38am

Hi Leah, great blog and lots of interesting comments too. Last year, I got married and my husband and I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. We both got rid of 95% of our stuff with hardly any sense of loss (aside from the shock of realising how attached we had become to pour piles of belongings) and I think we've learned to be more discerning, more equipped to deal with choice. That said, I'm still rubbish at food shopping.

Sophie Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 10:39am

PS love Sophie x

Susannah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 11:43am

Thanks, Sophie. I have just reserved the book online at the library. I'm looking forward to living with less.

Sophie Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 12:22pm

Good luck! X

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 10:43am

Thanks for your practical reply. Mary wrote about that book a while ago. I am glad it helped you. I am impressed with getting rid of 95% of your stuff, not sure I could do that. Leah

Helen Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 10:46am

This really resonates with me, Leah, and I only wish I had some useful practical suggestions. My 'impractical' solution is to go and live in a small village on a small, not very commercialised island - this is what we did for 4 months this winter to escape the grey English winter, and it was wonderful! Returning to the UK I feel overwhelmed with all the pseudo-choices I am presented with and my brain hurts. For me it is important to avoid TV, and especially all the adverts , to declutter as much as I can and to remember that it really doesn't matter which shampoo I use! I really admire Ella downsizing to 3 rooms, and I can imagine it would feel very freeing.

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 10:53am

Helen, Thanks for advice about going to a small village on a small island. I may try that one day. I live in 5 rooms and I find that difficult at times to keep down the clutter.

Anonymous Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 11:12am

I don't know what my solution is to keep things simple in this crazy choice obsessed world. Shop in small independent shops I guess. I must admit, I prefer more cheese choices than in Macedonia. Oh dear I am being rushed now to go out for an Easter Sunday lunch where I am sure there will be too many choices on the menu. Julxx

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 12:14pm

Jul, Enjoy your lunch.

Angela Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 11:31am

I've been decluttering for months and having a little break as I get easily overwhelmed. I need to move to a smaller property but cannot cope with the stress & upheaval after 25 years living here. My girls are going to pay bedroom tax for" their " old rooms which will take the pressure off a bit. Happy Easter friends xx

Susannah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 11:48am

Both my partner and I are terrible hoarders, but we don't want to be. When we moved into our house (20 years ago) we made a deal that after each room was decorated, we would police what went back in the room. In this process several bags and boxes got shoved from one room to another. There was one large black bin bag. It didn't weigh much, so it just got lumped with the other unsorted stuff. Then one day I looked inside the bag. It was full of dead leaves. The removal men had moved EVERYTHING!

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 12:16pm

Susannah, That story about the leaves made me smile. Thanks for sharing that .

Sophie Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 12:25pm

Hi Susannah, its shocking how many bags of dead leaves we cart around- physically and emotionally x

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:47pm

Angela, Sorry I missed your reply earlier. Well done in your decluttering effort.I like the idea of a 'bedroom tax" . Moving can be very stressful especially after a long time. All the best. Leah xx

Lexi Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 1:45pm

Hi Leah. Your comment " why is it that the only thing I have that has memory is foam?" made me laugh out loud. I try to only go to the store when I am rested and feel I can "face the enemy", the enemy being the barrage of choices (seriously - 15 different types of milk??). Food aside, I try to keep things simple by only buying a few great quality things - the best i can afford - and avoiding the rest. This philosophy proves to be a challenge with my 7 year old, whose room looks like a plastic toy company threw up in there...

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:33pm

Thanks Lexi for your reply. I had to smile with your description of your child's room. Sounds very familiar. You have probably done this but every few months take out the excess to the garage etc, and then rotate them every few months. The child sees them as knew toys and gets excited. Good luck.

The Gardener Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 5:03pm

Years ago we spent a week-end in Ross on Wye in an awful hotel. We found a restaurant, run by a fugitive from the tyranny of the Mars group. He served what was best in the market that day. No choice, just excellence, and no elaborate and often lying menus, wherein lots of the food was frozen. Simple and good.

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:35pm

Gardener, I have no idea what 'the tyranny of the Mars group' means but it sounds scary! What a lovely description of the meal -no choice just excellence... simple and good. I would love to eat there. Thanks for your wonderful description.

The Gardener Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 5:06pm

Me and clothes - half laziness, half economic. Only red, white and black clothes. No dithering. Went into Marks and Sparks for a sandwhich and came out with a spectacular black/white skirt costing 50 quid.

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:38pm

Gardener, I was going to only wear purple when I am older, like the poem!! I think the red whit and black is a great idea. Makes life simpler. Thanks.

John Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 6:04pm

Thanks for this post. I just led a motivational interviewing workshop. I enriched the workshop with the work of BJ Fogg. He works with digital products and services to make them more user friendly.

He is especially interested in simplicity. Watch his video and see if any of the six factors (plus a couple you can see added in the comments) relate:

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:39pm

John, Thanks for that information. I have not heard of NJ Fogg so will look him up later. Glad the workshop went well.

The Gardener Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 6:45pm

Mr G behaving wildly - will indulge in cynicism as therapy. Simple lunch, brown bread, smoked salmon and a glass of Chablis. And what about poor swithin Forsyte, so upset at the funeral of his sister Anne that he could take nothing to dinner but a brace of partridge and an imperial pint of champagne. that's tough, but simple. From a very confused Gardener.

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:42pm

Gardener, My mum used to love the Forsyte saga- what a lovely image you evoked and memories for me. Thanks

Silly Sally Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 8:56pm

I love the 'memory foam' comment! One of our sons has an easy way of ordering from a long menu if he's eating out. When you come to a dish that you like the sound of, stop reading and just order that.

Leah Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 9:43pm

Silly Sally, Thanks for the advice from your son. I usually give up and get someone to order for me.

the room above the garage Sun, Mar 27th 2016 @ 11:40pm

Hello Leah, I really enjoyed thinking about this today...specifically your question. I've finally realised what makes my life simpler (apart from menu plans) and it's the quote "those who mind don't matter, those who matter don't mind". It simplifies things for me when I'm getting my knickers in a twist :-) Thank you for a great post with a timely reminder for me, love ratg xx.

Leah Mon, Mar 28th 2016 @ 12:42am

thanks for that quote and for reminding me of not to worry about what others think. I tend to do that, and it does complicate choices. Thanks again. Leah xx

Ella Mon, Mar 28th 2016 @ 9:55am

My tip for those moments in the supermarket when you get overwhelmed.....walk to the shop, it limits what you can carry! Now I realise this may not be practical for those who live far away or have limited time, but perhaps by parking a bit further away than the trolley will take you or going by public transport (an adventure?) you can create your own limitation to choice.

Leah Mon, Mar 28th 2016 @ 10:25am

Thanks for your advice.
I dont drive so I always work but I have ended up carrying a huge backpack and many bags and baskets even though I knew I had a long way to carry them!! Thats just me , I used to call it my aerobic exercise.

Leah Mon, Mar 28th 2016 @ 10:27am

your 3 room challenge has mad me think, I am very impressed. Thanks.

Isabelle Fri, Apr 29th 2016 @ 11:09am

Hi Leah, have you read 'The Paradox of Choice' by Barry Schwartz. I have just started reading it myself and am finding it quite a shift from the perspective we are taught in Western society. Alternatively he has given a TED talk too.

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