Sunday, 28 September 2014

Fear of change

In years gone by I was always very enthusiastic about new things. I was one of those 'early adopters' of new technology - wanting the latest gadget when it had yet to make a big impact on the market and was therefore still commanding a high price. Even though I knew that within twelve months there would be a better updated version for half the price, I still fell into the trap. I remember spending 600 pounds on a Panasonic DV camcorder when they first came out. By the time the initial excitement dwindled and I decided it was too much aggravation to carry it around, and suddenly realised that I never bothered to actually watch what I'd recorded, the price had dropped considerably and the secondhand value was peanuts. I still have it in a drawer somewhere - a reminder of past mistakes I don't want to repeat.
I used to change my car pretty much yearly. Granted, this was largely due to the early ones being old heaps that were unlikely to pass their next MOT, but also simply down to being bored of them and wanting something different. The amount of money I've lost by doing this over the years is something I'd rather not calculate, especially as I spent considerable time and funds keeping them on the road while I owned them.
Odd then how time has progressively eroded my impulsive nature to the point where the notion of changing anything fills me with dread. Whereas I used to dive headlong into everything, I now go through a painfully long process of weighing up the pros and cons of the most trivial decisions. The really important choices are a mentally crippling nightmare. Nothing is straightforward anymore. Choosing a bottle of wine to go with dinner is a potential minefield with only previous experience helping to narrow down the options from the hundreds lining the shelves to the small handful that have been tried and successfully tested. There's still plenty I've yet to try, but once I've eliminated any Shiraz because it's too acidic, anything from Germany because they only send us awful syrupy piss and keep the good stuff for themselves, and of course any sort of Rose because it's far too girly to take seriously, I'm still left with a staggering choice. Even when I restrict myself to Rioja, Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignon if it's going with red meat, or a nice Chablis for fish or chicken, there's still a mind-numbing array of options. Thank goodness for special offers to help swing the deal.
The other day I went to change my mobile phone because the boy couldn't use Spotify on his one due to a broken headphone socket so he'd taken to commandeering the wife's tablet which wasn't going down too well. I figured rather than me replacing his phone when he keeps blowing his allowance on video games, I'd have a new one myself and let him have my old one which was still considerably better than what he had. The plan was good until I was perusing the range of devices in the EE store and my brain went into meltdown, wishing I'd never suggested doing all this and just kept my existing one. After much discussion about the various options up to and including saying 'bollocks to your bloody Spotify addiction, just play CDs' I eventually relented and plumped for some Sony thing which proved to be a pain in the arse to set up and has an operating system a few steps newer than the previous one and is taking me an age to find my way around it. I'd happily go back to an old basic dumbphone if it wasn't for the ease of texting with a QWERTY keypad.
The issue is amplified exponentially as the decision becomes less and less trivial, so when it comes to really important life-changing choices all I want to do is run away and hide; curled up in the corner in the foetal position hoping it will all go away. Invariably this doesn't work and I'm forced to deal with the situation, leaving me feeling depressed and inadequate.
I don't know if this is part of the natural ageing process or if it's just me spiralling relentlessly towards a padded cell and clothing with lots of interesting straps and buckles.
Perhaps that wouldn't be too bad. Eat what you're given, do as you're told, think what you're told to think. It would put all the decision making into someone else's hands, leaving plenty of time for more important things like licking the windows.


"So, Mr Martin, today we have a choice of  risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, paliperidone, ziprasidone, or lurasidone. Or you could just stay the same gibbering wreck you've been for years...."