If you talk to me for more than about 20 minutes, you’ll surely hear me say some sort of quote from a television show or a movie.
But I don’t mean your famous lines like “We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” or “‘You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,’ – Wayne Gretsky – Michael Scott”
I mean some random piece of wisdom that can only be delivered when wrapped up and hidden within a comedy. If you’ve read my first post, The Breakdown™, you’ve gotten a taste of this when I quoted a How I Met Your Mother episode. And I didn’t just look up that quote for the post, I’ve literally used that quote in my everyday life and used it to explain my actual feelings to actual humans.
So with that in mind, I need to ask you: have you ever seen the movie Deck the Halls?
If you’re looking to watch a just-okay Christmas movie where Matthew Broderick is an uptight, Christmas-crazy optometrist who takes on Danny DeVito in a Christmas battle mano-y-mano, or if you need advice on how to make your lawn decorations so obnoxious that your neighbors no longer want to live near you, then take a couple of hours to watch it this holiday season. Or take half a day to watch it if you’re watching it on Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas if you feel like enduring hours of commercials and promos.
While it won’t become a classic by any means, I, in typical Renata fashion, took a small nugget from this movie that has stuck with me for (what has apparently been) 12 years. I’m pretty sure that I even saw this movie in theaters. In fact, this might have been the last movie that I saw in theaters…
This is the gem that I pulled from Deck the Halls:
Kelly Finch (played by Kristin Davis): What is your favorite Christmas memory?
Steve Finch (played by Matthew Broderick): I was 7, my dad and I moved to Alabama… and Christmas morning we ate on the floor, ate French fries and drank chocolate milk.
Kelly Finch: That’s what Christmas memories are made from. They’re not planned. They’re not scheduled. Nobody puts them in their Blackberry. They just happen.
That’s right, in 2006 the iPhone hadn’t even come out yet. People still used Blackberries. How old do you feel now?
Ancient technology aside, I’ll be damned if this didn’t sum up all of my feels on random adventures.
We see the headlines everywhere: Millennials Want Experiences! Millennials are Quitting High-Paying Jobs to Backpack through Europe! Millennials Hate Diamonds and Love Cheap Airfare!
We’re the generation that’s willing to pay for those random once-in-a-lifetime moments more than anyone else. And that, my friends, is actually the main reason I am so indecisive.
We all know someone that swears that they don’t care where your group goes to eat but also shoots down everyone else’s suggestions. The frustrations when dealing with this type of indecision can definitely be exasperating.
In my mind, if I choose the place we go to eat, I know exactly the experience that we’re going to have. I know what I’m going to get. I know how it’s going to taste. I know how to get there and how to get back. If we go somewhere else, anything can happen.
Maybe we’ll find a really cool store that sells Japanese candy on our way. Maybe our waitress will be amazing and become my new best friend. Maybe I’ll find a new food that I like. Maybe we get lost on the way back and find a cool dance club. Maybe Lady Gaga is there and begs me to sign on as a backup dancer. We just don’t know.
Obviously this line of thinking is ridiculous — those things could all just as easily happen if I choose where we eat.
I need to remind myself that there’s really no harm in being more decisive.
Although, to be fair, the other reason for my silence is usually indifference. I truly don’t care where we eat because I just know that I’ll find something I like anywhere…and what if I miss out on something awesome because I chose the restaurant and we didn’t go to yours?! I’ll willingly miss out on a lot of things in life, but an amazing food experience will never be one of them.
My biggest problem with the indecision is that, if I’m not feeling paralyzingly indecisive, I’m diving into things blindly without a second thought.
Target knows about my impulsivity. They’ve capitalized on it many times. I hope you’re enjoying your house in Bermuda, Mr. Target!
From diving into grad school applications to buying the entire women’s clothing section of Target to spontaneously planning a nonrefundable weekend getaway, once I get excited about something, I just can’t stop moving forward.
Learning to be a bit less impulsive could save me a lot of time…and money.
So what’s the hurry? Why not just sleep on it?
The answer is that I won’t. I won’t get a restful night’s sleep because I’ll keep thinking about taking those next steps and replaying scenarios in my head, and I’ll just obsess until I hit a stopping point in the work I can do towards my goal. Thoughts about what I need to do will just sit in the back of my head and feel like an itch I can’t scratch until they’re taken care of.
Or worse, if I wait too long, I’ll slip back into indecision, lose motivation, and feel unable to continue even if I want to.
I legitimately have the worst of both worlds here: when it would be helpful for me to make a decision, I can’t, but when I should think things through and not be impulsive…I don’t.
Yeah, I don’t get it either.
In order to remind myself to work towards balancing these, I wrote the titular motto on a post-it that lives on my desk at work:
More Decisive, Less Impulsive.
What I’ve realized is that, after I’ve been indecisive and let others make decisions for so long, I’ve stopped speaking up when things actually matter to me. More and more lately, when facing a decision, I find myself telling someone else that they can choose, but thinking that I secretly hope they choose what I want. I’m just not used to speaking up when I want something, but that needs to change.
My goal is to be more honest with myself and to truly think about what I want before I impulsively answer and say that it doesn’t matter to me. I need to remember that I can honestly say that I prefer one thing over another without steamrolling everyone involved in the decision. I don’t have to definitively choose option A or option B. I can say that, while I prefer option A, I would also be happy with option B, making my preference known but ultimately leaving the decision up to someone else.
At the same time, I need to think through my impulsive decisions more carefully. Like being more decisive, this takes learning more self-awareness, but instead of figuring out what I really do want, it’s about figuring out what I really don’t want. Whether it’s something that I want to buy or a freelance opportunity I want to apply to, I need to spend more time considering whether I’ll actually use or want to do those things. Who knows? Maybe this exercise will teach me some patience. Patience is a virtue after all, and it’s one that I clearly do not possess.
So my to-do list involves both figuring out what I do and don’t want. Not confusing at all! But let’s be honest, there’s no better way to celebrate a holiday than with some spontaneous Christmas fun and self-discovery. Happy holidays, everyone!
Photography by my talented fiancé. You can find him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hope_grows_here/