Couch Contemplations

This is my couch.


I tried to water that fake tree once. Go me!

There are times I’m convinced we’re dating, as we spend our weekends and weeknights together. There’s nothing I look forward to more than hanging out with some snacks and reading, writing or watching TV—just me and my couch.

I’m not telling you this so that you realize how pathetically happy I am dating my couch and consequently feel better about yourself—although that most certainly will happen as well—but because buying that couch three years ago kind of  “represents” something today.

Let me explain.

When I bought my house and had to buy a couch. Everyone told me to take my time, hit at least half a dozen stores to compare price and styles and then spend 1,000 hours online trying to find a better option and a better deal (only slightly exaggerating.)

I saw this couch at the second store. It matched my new paint, the ends reclined with foot things that came out and the price was about what I expected. I bought it with no second thought. My thinking was that if it was what I liked, there was no point in searching for something better. It was good enough.

In other words, I didn’t want any more options.

While I like options and the choice to choose, most of the time I’m okay sticking with things I know I like—with satisfied—something I think is overlooked (and even looked down upon) in today’s society.  If you’re not constantly striving for the “new and improved” or the next greatest thing, you’re told that you’ll be left behind.

But with so many options for what to read, what to write, what to eat, what to wear, what to buy, it seems that no matter what decision you make, there will be a million reasons to doubt it and a million reasons to justify it.


Do we really need 457 different shades of blue, Home Depot?

Even if you’re happy with your decision, the introduction of more options often invites doubt and insecurity that while what you have might be okay,  it’s not as exciting as something else.  Pretty soon you adapt to that initial excitement and it just becomes expected, meaning you’re always looking for something else.

If that’s the case, when can you enjoy the things you have?

For me, worrying about whether something better is out there—because there is always something better out there— and second-guessing my decisions takes away any pleasure I get from what I already have.

So despite the incredulous look from the salespeople, I was okay with buying a new phone that only lets me talk and text. 

Despite everyone telling me that along with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I need to be on StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Google +, Foursquare, Digg and still find time to write every day—you have to write every day, right?— while reading a bunch of other blogs in a Google Reader or an RSS feed (or whatever other technical thing I don’t know what I’m talking about,) I’m okay with sticking to a couple options.

The issue is that even trivial decisions become important if we believe these decisions reveal something significant about ourselves, if we think we’ll be judged by what we decide—even if it’s just judging ourselves, as is often the case with me.

The truth is, we probably will be. But if I compare my decisions with the results of others, I’m less likely to be satisfied with what I have, which was what I wanted at the time.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have goals or that I’m shut off from “new and improved” versions of things—especially versions of myself. But sometimes seeking out more options simply means more stress and less satisfaction, more energy spent on complicating things that could be energy spent on something else.

So I keep an open mind about options, but that means my mind is also open to the possibility that what I already have might just be good enough.

And instead of worrying about the next great thing to come along, I simply enjoy the things that I presently have—usually on my couch.


We’re very happy together.

28 responses to “Couch Contemplations

  1. I am jealous. i want your couch. I hate mine. It is old and not comfy anymore.

  2. I hate having too many options. I live in constant fear that I made the wrong decision. Especially when dealing with menu items.
    PS: Couch lover for lyfe.

  3. Choices/options freak me out. I could never build a house as I’d always second guess what I picked out. I fear choosing cabinets, light fixtures, or countertops and then seeing something I like better later and “wishing I would have gotten that”. Ugh! Just the thought drives me bonkers. I know what I like when I see it so I do like you, grab what I like and don’t look at anything else!
    And yes, I’ve often wondered why there are SO many choices for paint colors, floors, ceiling fans, plates, etc. Just give me the basics and I’m good.
    And Pinterest has not been good for me tonlook at as there are millions of things to see and compare.
    Oh and I’m glad you showed us your couch – as much as you tweet about being on it, it will help with my mental imagery of how things look!!

    • I have never “pinned” anything and don’t plan on it. My head would probably explode, but more than that, I don’t need to waste any more time!

  4. Ugh, just try re-painting a room! The commitment it took to choose a color almost killed me.

  5. LOL You are right! Too many choices suck.

  6. My couch is identical to your couch (color and all) except that it’s 2 sections instead of 3. My husband also fell in love with it at first sight. Maybe they’re related and share some sort of inherent couch voodoo power?

    Either way, it’s a damn comfortable couch. Just wanted to share that. 🙂

  7. see, you’re the female version of our weird and crazy. You know I mean that well.

    I couldn’t give two flips about the brown, linty couch I’m sitting on right now. It’s comfortable with no visible stains.

    I obsess/over analyze about kids book bag contents, teenager time with her friend who is a boy, the Jets crappy running game, what kind of workout I should be doing, and other weird stuff.

    I love posts like this from you. Seeing into the Abby mind is fun. More, please.

  8. SUCH wisdom.

    Consumerism — all of that activity, judgement, thought, energy, anxiety, time…..enough!

    I am glad to see I am not the only one who has a strong immune system. We have a need, we find the “quality” object that addresses that need and nothing else (we do not NEED internet access of our phone because we are just not into that), and moving on. Done and done.

    In the long run? We probably spend less than the average bear so you know what? Who cares if we don’t get the best deal. We get hours of serenity instead.

  9. I love the light in that photo. Great living room!

  10. Holy crap.
    We have to reprint our basement, for after the hurricane floors, the walls were rebuilt.
    Husband laid out 632 swatches of varying shades of grey from Home Depot this morning, and asked my opinion. Then freaked out. Then ran to the store and bought pretty much the same shade of green we did last time.
    When we ordered our (replacement due to flood) couch? We went to the store, but I ended up ordering the exact same one as last time. it couldn’t be improved pon for our needs.
    There is nothing wrong with knowing what makes you apply and comfortable.

  11. I agree. We’re bombarded with too many “options” & “alternatives” these days. Good to know that there are other people out there who can still commit to a decision & be happy about it.

  12. Oh hello, I think you just wrote about everything that has been ricocheting around my mind for the last few months. I too, feel there are so many options out there, and am starting to feel a little frantic that I can’t keep up with everything – Klout, for example. Everyone seems to be doing it (whatever doing it entails) and I feel that I should. But why? I don’t even know what Klout is.

  13. I’m with you on this. When I have too many options I freeze and then just ignore the fact I need to make a decision. And then I feel bad I never made a decision so I start the whole self doubting process while still being angry at myself for never making good enough decisions. Do you see this slippery slope? Usually this process results in me drinking wine and watching real housewives of wherever. At least I know how to choose my bad tv.

  14. See, I used to tell myself all of that endless searching, perfectionist choices, that those behaviors made me worthy…of what, I don’t know. It’s so nice to live free of the endless consumerism. Refreshing post, thanks! I found you through Write on Edge…so glad I did! 🙂

  15. I love your couch and am going to hang out at your house from now on as our couch was chosen because it has very high back and so is quite comfortable for tall husband but excruciating for anyone else. Last time I buy furniture w/ him in mind.
    Too many options made me paint my bathroom grinch green. Beige is nice.
    You could pin that kitty picture on a e-board if you belonged to Pinterest. Just sayin.

  16. Yep, too many choices make me a cranky broad. I like your couch. 😉

  17. Wurd. I often get distracted, especially in the blogging world, with trying to keep up. Rss feeds and all those things you mentioned. I just want to write and read the blogs that move me. What’s the rush?
    I feel especially freaked out this time of year. I must acquire many trinkets and several overpriced gifts for family members. Panic sets in. What if I just threw out all the catalogues and coupons and fliers and just enjoyed the holidays for once? Sorry, now I’m getting sidetracked. I appreciate your suggestion to keep it simple and am going to enjoy knowing that you got my back in slowing down;) and enjoying all the wonderful things I already have laid out before me.

  18. Options are great until it gets overwhelming! The best thing is to know yourself and your mind before you even start taking advice. 🙂

  19. My couch is the exact same color, and I’m considering it a sign from the fates. Or something.

    I’m usually the same way. I just decide what I want to do, then I don’t consider the options. Why? Because options freak me the fuck out. I’d rather just make a choice and forget about it. Otherwise, I’d spend even more of my time contemplating my life paths. And buying a couch (or a dryer, or a bed) shouldn’t be that time or life consuming…

  20. I’m waiting for a photo album of your two.
    Most of the time I get turned off by bloggers who write posts about their relationships, but you and your couch are a sweet story.

  21. Ah, choices. The (current) bane of my existence. Building a house and then trying to pick every single thing out sucks way more than I ever imagined it would.

    Most important on my list of picks would be a comfy couch. Yours looks fantastic! Ain’t nothing wrong with some good couch lovin’ time 🙂

  22. Melanie The Spork Lover

    When I bought my house my only goal was to not shop at IKEA. I did end up getting an entertainment center and small table for my kitchen there, but that’s it. All of the decor in my house is mid century modern, either replica or thrifted. I furnished the whole house for $3,000. My goal was to be thrifty, and cute. And I love everything about the furniture I chose. I say as long as you are happy and comfortable, that’s all that matters. I would eventually like to change out my stuff with real Eames and Herman Miller pieces, but I’m in no rush.

  23. That’s exactly how I buy things and also how I discard them: quickly and without regret. The last apartment I moved into handed me a paint wheel just like that picture with 500 or so shades of everything. They let people choose ANY color and painted one wall before you move in. I thought it was awesome, but all the paint colors in the world?? They were doing me a nice favor, I mean, a selection of 10 or so colors would have more than sufficed. It still took me two seconds to pick it out though. Long live your couch.

  24. My couch was here when I moved in. I love it. And the Gia-shaped space on my favorite cushions.

  25. Dearest Abby, you just set me free. I am a decisive shopper and have no patience for the drawn out shop around and do hours of research method. I buy what I like and that is fine with me. But deep down, I have always felt that maybe I was doing it wrong not following this logical process. Maybe I spent too much.
    Now, thanks to this post, I am A-okay with my way. It is not wrong and it makes me much happier than wasting all those hours and all that gas looking for a better deal.

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