In ‘Life is a Smorgasbord,’ the author takes the reader through occurrences on his Aunt, Elaine’s birthday. The author’s aunt is turning fifty and is throwing a dinner at his favorite place, The Hometown Buffet. He refers to the place as being ‘smorgy.’ He is informed by his mother after attending the dinner they will proceed to a party at their place. The party is meant to honor the author’s aunt. Although, the author does not describe what is meant by ‘smorgy,’ the context within which, it is used makes the reader visualize a place that lacks liveliness and vigor often associated with the middle aged population. The author sarcastically describes the people in attendance and how they are likely to behave. Despite not wanting to attend, the author has no room for choice as his mother compels him to attend.
After having to queue for lengthy duration before getting in, they finally get inside and as the author put it, ‘it’s the land of plenty’ insinuating that there is plenty of food to choose from. The author finds it difficult to choose what to eat from the array of foods provided. At some point, he stops to ponder the criteria that the other people had used to choose what to eat. Eventually, he settles on nothing in particular but ostensibly decides that perhaps tasting everything is the best option.
Unfortunately, the combination fails to match and the meal ends up being un-enjoyable. To summarize the whole situation, the author describes it as confusing. The author looks back and affirms that he has realized that any time one opts for something else, he has to sacrifice another.
He mentions that time spent doing something is equivalent to time wasted not doing another. Finally, the author winds up by stressing the importance of making choices in life despite the vast array of things to choose from.
How decisions influence choices
The overall picture suggested by this essay reflects the real life situation. It affirms that life is full of choices but not always. At times, circumstances are forced on people and one has no choice. Surprisingly, when finally one has an array of things to choose from, confusion reigns in and one can’t help but wonder what would constitute the right choice. When the author half-heartedly accepts to attend the dinner, he has limited choices. The situation is imposed on him and he finds himself accepting under duress.
Despite the whole process being boring, he goes through it. The scenario reflected here is one where life presents limited choices and you have to conform to what the situation demands. Often people will complain when presented with such circumstances. An interesting phenomenon that the author highlights is that when finally options are presented, making decisions become difficult. One seems to want everything yet situation demands you make a choice. At this point, the author stresses the importance of coming up with a conclusive and rational decision. For as long as one is not able to come with a conclusive decision, confusion is rife and unfortunately one cannot be able to make a choice. Notable, choice is depicted as a direct product of making a conclusive decision.
When the author decides to taste everything, he ends up not enjoying anything. This is indicative of the level of confusion experienced when no conclusive decision is made. The menu is too large and there is no time to rehearse. This stresses the need to come up with a conclusive decision as soon as possible.
In decision making, a key factor emerging is that one has to forfeit other things in order to enjoy others. It’s impossible to enjoy everything. Deciding what’s important in one’s life must therefore take consideration of important factors that affect life rather than simply being guided by desire. Making a choice begins by prioritization of things important to your life. Decide what you can forego in order to enjoy another. As an economist will put it, you have to be prepared to incur some form of opportunity cost. The process of making a choice should therefore begin by identifying the existing opportunities.
Once you have identified the opportunities, eliminate those that you can do without. Rank the remaining opportunities according to priority. Lack of a conclusive decision can hamper the process of making a choice. Living in hope that everything will have its time is perhaps the best way to be able to make choices without much ado. You simply forego something in belief that its time too will come and you will enjoy it then.
This is what determines how to number a priority list. For instance, in preparing your priority list, you assign an object the tenth position hoping that there will come a time when the object will be on top of the list. “If you are not able to forego anything for something, then you are likely not to enjoy anything,” After all, to take a plane, you must have decided not to take a car. In this case, the car is what you forego in order to board a plane. Generally, life presents plenty of opportunities, you just need to choose which one to take and not to take.