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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

London Fog

I was in Ross this afternoon, trying to choose a pair of sunglasses. It was a most frustrating process but after searching in vain through random stores in the mall (why does a pair of plastic frames cost $20? seriously!) and realizing I wasn't going to find anything there, I resigned myself to choosing something, anything, if I could find a pair under $10.

After balancing about 50 pairs on my nose whilst bending my knees so I could peer into the mirror meant for midgets, trying to imagine how the glasses would look without an enormous anti-theft weight dangling off the bridge, I narrowed them down to my favourites. I'd tried on every single style, no matter how ludicrous they appeared with reflective lenses, oversized ovals, or neon frames. A little girl, bored of shopping as she sat in a cart being pushed about the store by her dad, turned and looked at me while I tried on pair after pair. She grinned when I put on a funny looking pair and made a face at her. As she was wheeled away to the checkout counter, she peered around him to watch me.

I finally selected my top 3. Each fit my face; each was under $10. One was chunky and dark brown, one was more demure and light brown, and one was large and purple. I knew which one I wanted, but I didn't know if I could choose it. So I spent the next hour browsing the store, trying on dresses, and posing in front of a mirror, eyes closed as I switched from frame to frame, in hopes I would have an epiphanal moment.

It did not come. Instead, I found myself increasingly frustrated I could not do something as simple as select a pair of sunglasses. Even after narrowing it down to two pairs, I found myself torn between the two. The demure brown ones looked more apropos, like the type of glasses you wear when you're going to a job interview on a sunny day, frames dangling casually from your fingers while you toss your hair back. The purple ones continued to scream Pick me! with their bold demand for attention, convinced they were high fashion even as I questioned whether it was too much to have all things purple. I already had a purple Nalgene water bottle and a purple Colombia fleece. I did not want to be known as the eggplant lady.

But I knew why it was so hard to decide between the $6.99 purple glasses and the $9.99 brown ones. It really made no difference which one I picked; they both suited me but just in different ways. The purple familiar in their colour yet adventurous in their size. The brown familiar in their style yet adventurous in their difference from my norm. The problem wasn't with the glasses. It was with my life.

I'm currently considering enrolling in a doctoral degree program. While most life decisions I've made before have been confident and solid, this is one which terrifies the living daylights out of me. I know I can do it; I'm not afraid of hard work. I'm just questioning whether this is the right time, the right direction, and the right thing to do. Am I committing to becoming a career woman? Am I relinquishing opportunities to travel, experience life, and step outside of my comfort zone? I cannot make a mistake. If I choose one road, that means the other is not. Purple glasses or brown? Adventure or familiarity? 

After requesting the anti-theft tag be taken off so I could give both pairs an equal chance, I decided one pair sat slightly askew which would likely irritate me in the near future. Still hesitant, I grabbed the other pair and marched to the checkout. I'd like to buy these, please.

Purple London Fog sunglasses.

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