How I Make Decisions

Right now, every twenty minutes or so I am hitting “Refresh” on the Alberta Motor Association’s website map of road conditions.  I am willing the colour of the main highway to Red Deer to turn from yellow to green.

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 1.05.07 PM
AMA Road Report

I had planned to meet up with my writing group friends this evening, but the weather turned on us and we now have snowy, slushy, and icy roads–so much so that there were 54 collisions on Edmonton roads this morning. There have also been collisions, vehicles in ditches, and jack-knifed trucks on Highway 2.

You would think it would be easy to cancel my meetup and just stay home in the warmth and comfort of my living room, but no. I don’t make decisions that easily.  Oh no. I have to agonize, change my mind multiple times, ask for advice, research, and delay.

I don’t want to cancel because I haven’t seen these friends for several months, I enjoy their company, and value their advice. Also, I already cancelled last week’s planned meetup when my car was in the shop. It was supposed to be just a routine maintenance check and installation of winter tires, but it turned into a three-day drama to solve the mystery of an errant flat-tire light on the dashboard.

On the Road April 2017 Truckee CA, Tahoe National Forest

Another decision that I have to make on an annual basis is whether or not to drive to my winter home in California. I have been doing this journey since 2009 and every year but one I have driven my car down there. It’s a long tiresome trip, but I make it as interesting as possible with lots of music and audiobooks. Last year my youngest son joined me, and that was the most enjoyable the trip has ever been. He was able to juggle phone, laptop, dashcam, and GPS gadgetry with ease and make conversation, too!  Unfortunately, he won’t be able to join me this year, so I am back to anticipating the solitary trip.

A couple of years ago the weather was so awful that I flew down. When I got there, I was able to use Uber and public transportation most of the time, and could have rented a vehicle for longer journeys, but that never happened. It was not as satisfying a visit as usual, though, because I just didn’t see as much of my family as I would have liked, so for this reason I much prefer having my car with me.

I have gone through many brainstorming sessions trying to figure out whether or not to buy or lease a vehicle down there, and I have had the benefit of lots of good advice. My niece’s husband actually went to great lengths to figure out a good lease arrangement for me, but I backed out of the plan in the end.

Car Lease via Flickr

I wish it were possible to lease a vehicle for six months at a time, but it isn’t. Renting a car for that length of time is prohibitively expensive so the only choices would be a two-year lease or the purchase of a used vehicle.  Both of those choices have been bubbling around in the decision-making part of my brain for a few years, but I remain unconvinced of the wisdom of those choices. It just doesn’t seem to make sense to me to have a vehicle that I have paid for, bought insurance for, and maintained and then leave it sitting in a garage for six months of the year.  In any case, my roommate likes to have my parking space available for her guests, so there’s that, too.

That’s the problem with decisions. They are rarely easy choices between good and bad, right and wrong.  They are usually a mishmash of could-be’s and what-if’s. Once upon a time, I could make quite dramatic decisions on the basis of a hunch and very little evidence. The older I get, though, the less dramatic I have become and the less I trust my hunches. These days I want supportive research evidence and at least one friend who agrees with me.

As you can tell, my decision-making protocols leave a lot to be desired, but until some computer wizard comes up with an app that will do the work for me, these irritatingly slow processes are all I’ve got.









  1. My inclination is to call a spa and book a massage for this evening, fly south so you have more days there instead of on the road, but then i do not have all the facts, sooooo just do the most nurturing
    thing for yourself.

  2. wow!! You sound like me on “decisions”….. except when it involves driving…. I always opt to NOT!!! Any possibility of hiring a “driver” for the car?? and ride with or not to get to CA? Just a thought … you might have thought of already…

  3. I like the research part, gathering information, then going with your hunches. So sorry you doubt your hunches, or what I would call intuition. I believe we all have a wise place within us to access.
    Here’s a possibility: Think about what option feels good; feels happy. If all of the options feel that way, then you can’t go wrong!

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