At the beginning of the year I was watching a Ted Talk about the Paradox of Choice. The basic concept is that even though it is better to have the possibility of choice, having too many options actually decreases happiness and satisfaction. Let’s imagine a fish bowl. It might look too confined for a fish. What if we dropped the fish into the Ocean? Its immensity will actually provoke paralysis.
I see myself in the middle of the Ocean, in this paradox of having several options regardless of any constraints, where I find myself incapable of taking any action or making a decision. Have you ever been to Rome? When you try to cross the street nobody seems to care about transit rules. You look right, left, front and you don’t know when or how to cross the street without being hit by a car or a scooter. Too many variables paralyzed us. What should I do? How should I do it? What I am missing if I take path A and not B?
This relates to my personal life. I am in the third year of my Ph.D., living by myself in a foreign country and living on a scholarship. I am a single women with no family commitments. I have myself, my friends, my gym, my trips, and my career. I don’t have a boss that tells me what to do. On top of that, I am very curious; therefore, whenever I see a shiny object I am tempted to follow it. I have been trying to focus for a long time and I am running out of ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I love my research, but sometimes it gets boring. I realize that I end up procrastinating with my reading and my thoughts. Yes I am a thought procrastinator. To be honest, in terms of efficiency, I should fire myself right away.
I am so interested in all of these theories that I can’t stop reading but I can’t seem to write either. Many people view me as a lucky, smart woman with this wonderful life as a PhD candidate living in a first world country. I have to tell you, and I don’t want to be dramatic, that I am desperately searching for my own fish bowl. To have this great amount of freedom in terms of what I want to do in my life and how I want to pursue my studies did not bring more satisfaction to my life. We need, in order to progress to have a framework, some constraints, a place where we can make sense of things, a fish bowl.
I don’t want to be that fish in that bachelor apartment, but I am not happier now been the fish that lives in the Ocean. My lesson for the years to come; build your own fish bowl! You will still be free because you built it yourself, but you will be happier than swimming aimlessly in the ocean.