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October 13, 2010 / MrsH

Choices and Overwhelm

In a few weeks my CSA ends. It’s been a true gift for me this summer. In addition to being reminded of God’s bounty and unfailing provision each week, I’ve also found myself trying some vegetables that I hadn’t previously tried, or even heard of. Things like beets, kohlrabi, braising greens (all thumbs up), and turnips (thumbs down for now). It’s not that my local grocery doesn’t carry those foods. They do. But sifting through all the possibilities there, and comparing each item by price, usually just felt like too much of an ordeal. Add to that the one to three children accompanying me and the sheer difficulty of deciding which veggie to try this week, the grocery store has not been conducive to trying new things.

I feel almost un-American to say this, but choice can be stifling. Choice can stymie decision-making. Choice can cause inaction. Choices cause overwhelm. This is true for me as a grown-up when faced with too many vegetable options, or too many shirts at the store, or too many things I could be doing with my spare time. So I eat broccoli every week, wear boring t-shirts, and browse the internet in my spare time. Ok, it’s not that bad, but I’m dangerously close. So how do I think my children feel when faced with choices? Sometimes they’re great. I love that our CSA allows us to choose nine “items” each week, but I choose which nine. For example, this week I walked away with 3lbs of carrots (3 items), 1 bunch of beets, 1 humongous head of cabbage, three winter squash, 2lbs of sweet peppers (2 items), and a bag of braising greens. I mostly choose what my family will happily eat, with some more adventurous selections each week as well. Someone else walked away with 3 heads of cabbage. Apparently, she had a craving for cabbage.

Why do I continue to be surprised that my Middle One doesn’t respond well to “pick your clothes,” and jumps into action with “blue pants or tan today?” (the answer is invariably “green” or “brown”). Why does it take me aback when my Eldest can’t decide what to draw and asks me to tell her something? Even when I, too, am stumped by the task of selecting just one thing to draw, I still am surprised that she could not choose.

All that to come back to my CSA, and my choice of where to shop for vegetables. There are too many choices once again and I could spend hours on the internet, finding pros and cons for each one. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to make a choice among the handful of options I’m already aware of. It might not turn out to be the absolutely best, top, choice. But it’ll save me the agony of trying to find that perfect place. And hey, I can always switch.



Leave a Comment
  1. Kateisfun / Oct 13 2010 9:14 am

    I definitely agree with this. I knew someone who said that she liked “chaos within structure”. Like, things can get crazy, but only to a point. Putting value on sanity/transaction length/mental anguish over choice is wise, indeed. On the CSA front, glad you had fun trying different things! I’m going to try to eat both more seasonally and locally, which definitely helps on the choice front.

    • MrsH / Oct 13 2010 11:50 am

      Thanks Kate! Something I’m working on, for sure. I’m not convinced that eating locally all winter long is very viable up here, though I’m going to give it a try for our veggies at least.

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