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Generalist Decision Paralysis

I’ve always been a multi-passionate person.

I’ve always been an indecisive person, too.

(Yes, I debated on which of those sentences to start this blog with, and I’m still not sure I made the right decision).

I’m constantly worried about making the right decision, not because I think that I’ll choose the wrong thing, but because I don’t want to pigeonhole myself. In reality, I have FOMO and I want to have ALL OF THE EXPERIENCES. I don’t worry that I won’t like the decision that I make, I worry that I would really love to try all of the things and would rather decide on everything as opposed to just one thing in particular.

This almost got me into trouble at my first job out of college. I was hired to be an analyst, but I was thrown into account management because they needed someone there. I was enjoying my time in account management so much that when they eventually tried to move me totally into my analyst role, I argued that I could do both. I just wanted to learn everything and have some variety. I didn’t want to choose one and miss out on the other. Eventually, they realized that I couldn’t realistically do both, and I basically had my boss decide for me. I went on to have two more roles at that company on different teams and learn a bunch of different things.

I just wanted to experience everything and didn’t want to pigeonhole myself! I was the same way when applying to new jobs, too…you want me to do the same thing every day!? And get on a single career trajectory?! I can’t and I won’t.

In fact, I’ve always been like this. When I was a child, I expressed my creativity through all different mediums. Between writing, making fun videos, and drawing fashion designs, I couldn’t stick to one thing! I’ve started various different collections as a kid, needing to complete every one of them to experience the full breadth of what was available. When applying to colleges, I applied to ten and went to visit at least thirty. They all had different awesome things I liked and I would meet different amazing people at each one…how was I supposed to choose!?

When I started at my undergraduate college, I knew two things: that I wanted to go on to graduate school to become a genetic researcher (and therefore needed to major in some science), and I wanted to also be a French major. If I could take more classes besides science and French classes, I wanted to. Hell, my first semester, I insisted on taking Calculus 3, not because it would count towards one of my majors, but because I would miss Math if I didn’t take it. 

I mapped out several different major/minor combinations on an Excel spreadsheet in several different formations ranging from triple majors to two majors and two minors to several semesters abroad. There was just too much to learn to only have one or two majors! I even had several other students approach me and ask me to do the same for them, as well. I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t mind one bit! One of those friends and I even had a dream of starting a college where a student could have a “jack of all trades” major and just study a bunch of different subjects. We daydreamed of a school where you didn’t have to pigeonhole yourself if you didn’t want to! You could take all of the subjects you wanted to your heart’s content. Ahhh freedom.

At the end of the day, I settled on French and Neuroscience (an already-interdisciplinary major) with a minor in Mathematics. I then proceeded to go out of my way to take Spanish classes so I could study abroad in Spain. And then I took several courses at local universities in the summers so I could pack my schedule with even more classes. During my semester in France, I called my advisor back in the US to ask him if it was possible to take Portuguese during the fall semester of my senior year and still graduate on time. When I was a senior in college, I also had to step down from several of my on-campus jobs because I just kept amassing more…why oh why couldn’t there be more hours in the day!?

When I started the blog, I avoided pigeonholing myself by not deciding on a particular topic for it. I didn’t only want to write about one topic, so I didn’t choose one niche to write about. I know, I know, “niche to be rich” and all that, but the blog isn’t here to make me rich, it’s here to be another spot where I can be me…and I am multi-passionate and eclectic.

Not to mention that I’m a certification collector. In college, I got my Zumba instructor certification so I could teach on campus. Back in 2020, I got my life coaching certification, because I thought that would be my way to help people. Now, I’m considering getting my yoga teacher certification. I just love the idea of learning new things and trying out different paths! I’ll definitely find the time to indulge them all, right?

The main problem with decision paralysis, however, isn’t that I end up doing all of the things anyway, it’s what happens when I can’t do all the things. Like buying a house, for example. My fiancé and I have been looking for a house on-and-off for a while now, but I’m really struggling with the idea of making a decision. You mean you want me to dump all of my life savings into one thing? I can’t even pick one college major! Monogamy and marriage feel similar to me, as well — you want me to decide on one!? Forever!? On Sunday, I touched on this a bit when I talked about tattoos. Besides being a major chicken, I can’t decide on just one thing!

I’m certain there’s a healthy way to combat decision paralysis, but for now, I mostly just end up making impulse decisions. Ask any online retailer that I frequent! They seem to love my fear-of-decision-paralysis impulse buys! At least, if I make the choice on a whim, I’ll have still made a choice, and that feels like progress.

…and that can’t bite me in the butt, right?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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