Much of a Muchness

The eternal question

Charles Dana Gibson: The Eternal Question (Portait of Evelyn Nesbit, 1901).

I have very definite opinions about important things. My faith, for example. When I joined the Catholic Church last year, it was after a very long deliberation, and though I can see a clear path looking back from where I am now it was anything but certain until it became my only choice.

Or my family. Julia and Anna are the two most important people in my life. Any decision that affects them in any way is a critical one, and I will weight it carefully.

Or my health. Until recently I neglected my diet, and my health suffered for it. I don’t do that anymore. I want to be around for a long time, to grow old with Julia and to see Anna grow up, get married, and start her own family.

That’s the important stuff: my faith, my family, and my health. Everything else is, as my mom would say, “six of one, ‘alf dozen of another.” Or to put it another way, it’s “much of a muchness.”

What to wear, what to make for dinner, what to do for fun on the weekend. With decisions like these—the ones that make no real difference—I am indifferent and often spontaneous, because if it doesn’t really matter what I do, then I can do “whatever.”

An example: I am notoriously slow at ordering in restaurants. I’ll usually narrow my options down to two or three choices, but unless I’m really in the mood for something I could toss a coin for all I care. “No skin off my nose either way” is what my mom would say. So when the time comes to order, I usually go last.

“By the time you get to me, I’ll decide.”

And then when it’s my turn, I say the first thing that pops in my head, because deep down I figure that’s what I wanted all along.

I could have picked the other option and, besides eating a different meal, nothing else different would happen. It’s just food; as long as it tastes good and isn’t too high in calories or sodium I don’t care.

Or to put it another way: “eh.”

And this is why I don’t get the typical control freak: the kind of person who must have everything in their lives just so. I don’t criticize them—everyone’s different—I just don’t think that inconsequential decisions matter. There’s enough stress in life as it is: why make it worse?

That’s what my mom would call “‘obson’s Choice”: no choice at all.

Life is too short to worry about distinctions without differences, when so much of it is “much of a muchness.”

This is a part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You can read more submissions and add your own here.


One thought on “Much of a Muchness

  1. We DO tend, in our present days, to focus and focus and focus some more on exactly what we need to do. Flexibility, casualness, lack of intensity hardly fit into our lives. Need to be that way, true… but also need to suddenly, in an unplanned way, just have a really good time and a impulsive “play” time. Nice sharing…


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