I gave my roommate a blank stare as a response. “Forget it. I’m not playing that game.”
“But I already narrowed it down from all these!” she did a sideways glance at the enormous bag of nail polish next to her on the couch.
“No way. You’ll just pick the one that I like, instead of picking the one you want. It’s a nail color. You can make that decision. Then we’ll move to you picking your own shoes and—Lord forbid—apparel.”
She looked at the three nail polishes in her hand and frowned. “Ok we both know that will never happen.”
I live with the most indecisive girl you’ve ever met. It doesn’t matter whether she’s ordering a drink at the bar, pulling groceries from the shelves, or shopping online—if there is a decision to be made, you can guarantee she will do everything in her power to outsource it.
My aunt has her PhD in psychology, and even if I go six months without speaking to her, I will call her if I’m faced with a decision I cannot get past. When I was deciding between colleges eight years ago (has it seriously been eight years? Shoot me.), she gave me the most freeing piece of advice I’ve ever received: There is no such thing as a wrong decision.
[Granted, I have a couple qualms with this. I am pretty sure I have done many things—say, parking my car in a tow zone—that were wrong decisions. For all intents and purposes, hear this out.]
The first time I lived in DC, I lived in the suburbs for the first eight months. I hate the suburbs. When I finally broke the lease on that unfortunate situation and went Craigslist hunting, I found two places that fit my needs:
- The first was in Friendship heights, the dividing neighborhood between DC and Maryland. I worked in Maryland, so my commute would be a breeze. I would have an entire floor of a house to myself, with a loft as a bedroom and my own living area. My only roommate would be a guy my age, who was only home 2-3 times per week.
- My second option was living in a house of three other girls who I’d never met. The house was in Gloverpark (up the hill from Georgetown). I would have a longer commute, and a bedroom that was nine feet long and seven and a half feet wide.
To anyone with an ounce of sense, the first was clearly the better deal.
I remember being at bottomless brunch with my friends, laying out the pros and cons between my two choices. I went over every up and downside, of every minute detail, of these two arrangements. Finally, a guy across the table said, “Kara. For the love of God, where do you want to live?”
“Well I want to live in Gloverpark but the Friendship Heights place is clearly the better option—“
“THEN LIVE IN GLOVER PARK.”
This week my friend Keena accepted a new job. With two offers on the table, she started G-chatting me her pro and con list. I hit her with the same question that determined my living situation four years ago:
“Keena. Where do you want to work?”
“Well I want to work for No Kid Hungry but the LLS is better title wise and—“
“Then work for No Kid Hungry.”
My aunt’s advice has a second piece to it: There is no such thing as a wrong decision, because if you get to the point where you truly can’t decide, you know you’ll be happy with either choice.” If you rip apart two options into the most mind-numbingly specific pros and cons, you know you will be happy with either outcome. At that point, a small detail will not make or break your decision. You just have to ask yourself which one you want more—even if the one you want doesn’t make sense on paper.
Moving into the house in Gloverpark changed my entire DC experience. I made lifelong friends with those girls, drank a ridiculous amount of wine on our front porch, covered my ears when they played Carly Rae Jepsen on repeat, and miraculously turned that closet of a space into the most adorable bedroom you’ve ever seen.
“Amy. What nail color do you want to wear?”
“Well I want to wear this gray one but I feel like this red one is more wintery and—“
“Then wear the gray one.”