With 35,000 choices a day, how many do you Make On Purpose?

What an enormous question! I don’t feel like I make that many choices a day? I feel tired just thinking about it.

And all our choices – even the unconscious decisions – can have a profound effect on the people in our lives, the homes we live in, the planet?

From when to sow your tomato seeds to how you clean your woodwork to where you place a lamp.

How many of our choices do you think we make after due consideration? (Don’t answer that!).

Mr Flowers made the choice to react badly to a duck trying to share. leapt out of the way and the ducks rushed in to fill the void.

I call this video Ducks Revenge.

Many of our choices are unconscious. Instinctual. Reactionary. Luck.

When I was a child and we lived in the big house by the beach, there was one light suspended from the ceiling in each room. The light fitting was placed in the center of the ceiling with a little umbrella light-shade over it. Thats it. One light with one light bulb per room. There was no extra lights over the kitchen bench. No lights beside the beds. No lamps on sweet little tables on either end of the couch. No outside lights. No special reading lights.

The house had been designed in the 1800’s to rely on natural light.

There was a window above the kitchen sink.

The kitchen table was close to the French Doors.

A reading chair in the big window.

Stuff like that.

So, dinner was prepped early, we ate at 5pm and had the dishes done before sunset. In the winter we just ate earlier. Homework was done at the dining table under that one light. All together.

Dad would read the paper and was always saying to a kid – ‘ Move; you are in my light.”

Cream coloured cow looking directly at camera in old barn. Partially obscured from old barn walls. Lit by natural light from screen left.

Then, when my parents designed the open plan kitchen+dining+living room upstairs in the 70’s (it was upstairs so we all had the best view of the sea), Mum incorporated lights above the work stations in the new kitchen. She discovered lights that would attach to walls and found table lamps. (Though she still arranged all the reading chairs by the big windows with the ‘best light’). There were light switch panels! Light was everywhere! Lights above new desks and two lights above our enormous dining room table.

All these light choices changed the way we lived. That one decision to light the kitchen in a way that enables night work meant that we baked at night and left the dishes until later and when it was peach season we bottled well into the night.

With her choices Mum literally extended the life of our day. We ate later and went to bed later. And the electric lights scattered everyone around the house to create their own spaces to read or do homework.

I wonder if she thought about that?

She also made the choice not to let a television into our big open plan living room. That choice had some really amazing consequences too.

Choices. I need to think more consciously about where each of my choices will lead my sustainable farm and my sustainable home.

And now I am going to make the choice to go outside and begin the summer fields for Hey Jude and FreeBee.

Long shot of winter leaf less trees along the side of a field. Slight green in grass to the left. Dog in the distance. Cloudy sky.

I will make another thousand choices out there and will work very hard to be present for at least some of them!

Do you think Decision Fatigue is part of getting old? The oldies just get tired of having to make so many decisions across the course of the day. Starting with what to wear? Or what chair to sit in? Making a choice about dinner becomes too hard? (Personally I wish I could go back to a school uniform and I am not even old yet!!).

Maybe I will fry some left over macaroni cheese with bacon before I go out. Have you ever made the choice to fry your macaroni? You should. It is SO Tasty!


20 Comments on “With 35,000 choices a day, how many do you Make On Purpose?

    • It looked fine; it made a good point, as did the whole post. My father used to say, “in a hundred years it won’t make any difference.” In a hundred years it probably won’t matter whether your family grew up in a modern home designed with exceptional lighting. And yet, what did that change regarding the camaraderie of the home, the scheduling as you note, the way work was organized? What did both situations teach you and your family about coping? It won’t matter to peacockdom that Mr. Flowers cleared the way for the ducks, but did it occur to him that losing his spot wasn’t worth the tussle?

      I am 56 and often tired of decisions in any case, and surely not so mindful of many as I might be, and hopefully none of them will matter in a hundred years, or even in the next half hour. But I think as well sometimes, would a different choice have mattered? If I had to leave the house 5 minutes later than planned, instead of fretting I might be late, I sometimes think well, maybe that schedule would have put me on a literal collision course that perhaps this delay will help me avoid. Maybe the universe slowed me down because it knew something that I didn’t. Crazy thoughts, probably.

      • I don’t think that they are crazy thoughts. And I do think that we seldom learn from our choices. We just choose left or right and get on with it.

        Many of our choices do have repercussions for down the line too. I guess those are the important ones.

        Thank you for a wonderful comment!

  1. In the real olden days, people got up at dawn and went to bed at dusk, just like the chickens. I’m sure Decision Fatigue is part of getting old, but you won’t get me back in school uniform – I hated it!
    Love the duck video!

      • Black blazer, white shirt, black and gold striped tie and black trousers. I hated school too 😉

        • I would wear that.

          We had a white shirt. Red tie. In winter black heavy pleated woolen tunic- with a fabric belt ( I loved it) Black stockings. Dark red jersey. Dark Red blazer. Dark red box hat.

          The tunic was swapped out for a skirt in summer.

          I liked the winter uniform the most.

          • When I was at infant school it was short trousers, even in a cold winter. I’m sure it was an old fashioned method of punishing children before they’d even done anything wrong.

              • Breaking your spirit! The English used to break their children in, like horses. I have a German friend who asked me why the English hate their children? It’s not the same now, but it was definitely true of the 60s and 70s (and prior to that).

  2. Well done Mr Flowers( with your poor old foot, how well you have adapted to that)! I too remember my childhood home with one light per room and the huge improvement of “side lights” when they were introduced. Get out of my light was such a common phrase too. My most hated decision, what to cook tonight!

  3. I wonder, do we really face that many decisions each day? Seems absolutely impossible, but maybe that’s why I’m worn out as soon as dinner is over! I must have missed the 1 light era by a bit, or maybe (because we are the same age) it is location and of course age of the house has a lot to do with it. It is interesting though, how the family had to remain much more of a unit didn’t they, sort of collectively living as one without the conveniences some of us took as normal in our lives.

    Mr Flowers has adapted quite well hasn’t he, although it still is hard to see that foot in such an awkward position. I had to laugh though as he’s so much bigger than the ducks but I guess he wasn’t up for a squabble with them.

    • My Flowers is a gentle soul. I think as he got older anyway.

      I think they count one step after another decisions! reach for a bowl, choose the size, change your mind, a spoon, what size etc. Turn head to the left – head to the right! Brush your hair a hundred times – each stroke. (That reminds me I should brush my hair)/All those are decisions. It is a brain synapses firing thing (I think that is the word) that they measure.

  4. I definitely have decision fatigue but not about lighting… I don’t do overhead lighting unless absolutely necessary like in the kitchen but even there I have a lamp for when it’s not absolutely necessary…

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  6. I think some of my decisions are so often made that they have become instinctive and require no actual mental exercise. As for lights: I refuse to use overhead lights, as nowhere in the room has good light except directly underneath. Every chair we use in the evening has its own lamp, every task station its own light. Why cripple yourself when lighting these days is so good and cheap to run? And besides, we have solar, so our costs are low anyway. No long summer evenings here in the tropics, the sun goes down with a bang at 7pm in the summer and 2 hours earlier in the winter; I sometimes miss a long, leisurely twilight. And the ‘what to make for dinner’ decision… Oh my word. That’s always and forever down to me, and often I make extras so there are delicious leftovers to alleviate the decision-making.

    • Leftovers rule!!

      Though my scalloped potatoes were so tasty – I did not have many left over!

      Solar power is great! Does your solar power light your house directly or go to the grid?

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