Choice v. Decision

When you reach a fork in the road, do you choose to turn left, or do you decide to turn left?

What is the difference between a choice and a decision?

I made Darjeeling tea this morning as opposed to making Assam. Did I choose Darjeeling or did I decide on Darjeeling?

On the surface, these two words appear to be interchangeable. I’m sure if we were writing a paper and noticed that we were overusing “choice” at some point we would change some of the words to “decision”. But are there subtle differences between the two words?

Do you put the same amount of thought into a choice as you would a decision?

I went out to eat with my daughter on Friday. She asked me if I wanted to split the onion soup and the corn ravioli. My options were:

  1. split the soup and ravioli
  2. get my own meal completely
  3. split the onion soup but not the ravioli
  4. split the ravioli but not the soup

My thought process:

  1. It’s over 80 degrees. I get that the onion soup is supposed to be amazing, but do I really want hot soup today?
  2. The burger is also supposed to be amazing, but it’s big and my daughter doesn’t eat meat, so do I want to carry around half a burger or throw away food? (sidenote- one of my biggest pet peeves is throwing away food)
  3. How easy is it to split a bowl of soup?
  4. Sweet corn ravioli is something I don’t often see on a menu and I know this place gets their stuff from the Farmer’s Market.

I know. All this from the simple question of do you want to do splitsys with dinner…

But really- this wasn’t a life altering trajectory. When faced with the four options, when it came down to it, I made a CHOICE to split the meal with my daughter. It might seem, on the surface, that I had four possibilities for an answer, and four possible reasons as to why I should or should not split the meal, but really, what I have for dinner on a random Friday is not really life altering. This was dinner with my daughter not Kool Aid with Jim Jones…

Therefore, I hereby decree that CHOICE is something we do when the situation is not life altering. A choice is simple- it ends after you choose. You go about your life as normal…

So if choice is non life altering, then decision would be…


Decision is life altering…

I decide where to live.

I decide how to take care of my health.

Decisions would require greater thought and perhaps a much greater pro/con list than a choice. Decision might be harder to reverse- if you decide to buy a car, if you don’t want it anymore you could lose money, etc… I’m assuming no one really wants to lose money…

The obvious next question is: Am I being pedantic?

While your obvious answer choice is probably YES, maybe you should give a little more thought to it…

Is there a difference between the words?

I love language, and I love all the words that come with it. With the plethora of words at our disposal, shouldn’t we try to find the word that best fits what we are doing.

When you face the fork in the road, how do you know which tine to meander down? How much thought do you give to left or right, forward or reverse…does everything you do require great contemplation, or do certain issues matter more?

Do you choose? Do you decide?

Is there a difference between decision and choice? Or does it just not matter?

The List


  • Read Literary Fiction
  • Eat Sushi
  • Watch Netflix
  • Prefers weekends away to weeklong vacations
  • Own Cats
  • Ride Bikes
  • Like Roses
  • Listen to Jazz
  • Are Night Owls


  • Read Science Fiction
  • Eat Salmon
  • Watch HBO MAX
  • Prefer weeklong vacations to weekends away
  • Own Dogs
  • Ride Scooters
  • Like Tulips
  • Listen to Classical
  • Are Early Birds

All members of the Democratic Party adhere to all these things, and all members of the Republican Party adhere to everything on their list. Right? I mean, we all know that if you belong to one of these parties, you are exactly like every other member of your party. You believe the exact same things. You stand for the exact same things.



What’s that?

You’re a Democrat who owns a dog? And you listen to classical music? You hate literary fiction? You hate going away for the weekend?


How can that be?

You identified as a Democrat?

I mean if you are a true Democrat, you must agree with everything that “they stand for”…

Can you imagine a Republican that’s a night owl or rides a bike? I mean, that’s just crazy talk….


Once you assign yourself to a party you are locked in to every single thing they stand for. You must vote for the candidate that they put on the ballot…

You are no longer allowed to think individually as per issue or person…

Group dynamics baby…

I’m sorry…what did you just say?

You say that we are all allowed to have whatever interests that we want? That we are allowed to choose the issues that we believe in? It doesn’t matter what party we belong to?



That can’t be…

Democrats are one way. Republicans are another. That’s just how it is.


Or Left?


You know my family just completed a college tour road trip- 7 colleges, 16 states, 2800 miles.  Seeing 7 colleges brought the total up to 15 colleges visited.  My daughter has narrowed down her choices and is now starting the application process.  Here’s how she narrowed it down.

There are about 4000 colleges in the US.  Where do you go from there?  Well, the editor of the Princeton Review “Top 382 Colleges in America” gave a talk at my daughter’s school, and handed out copies of the book.  So we went from 4000 to 382 pretty quickly.  (Let me add, this is how we did it- you can narrow down the field anyway you want) But, along side this book, we had done a few tours of college campuses.  We spread the field a bit- we visited a few different campuses- state schools, private schools, undergrad enrollment less than 5000, between 5 and 10000, and greater.  Urban and less urban.  After viewing the different options my daughter knew the following:

  1. 5000-10000 undergrad would be ideal. Larger was better than smaller
  2. Urban or town setting.  When you walked out of the campus gates, there needed to actually be something you could walk to
  3. Co-ed
  4. Strong humanities/pre law  program
  5. No farther west than the mid-west
  6. Law team/club/fraternity
  7. limited social fraternity
  8. limited team culture
  9. Low student/faculty ratio
  10. small class size
  11. classes taught by Professors not TA’s

We then went through the 382 colleges book page by page.  She narrowed down the field to 41 schools.   Of those 41 schools she broke it down into three levels-

  1. reach schools (schools where admittance rate for her was hovering around 15% or less,
  2. target schools (schools which she has a decent shot of getting into, meaning her grades and test scores fall into the middle to high range of where their admitted students are
  3. likely, which is schools where she is at the highest point or above where their students are

After separating them, she got on the mailing lists of any schools not already sending her information.  She attended road shows when available- road show meaning, representatives from the schools come to our area and give a presentation about the school.  She went on school websites and instagrams and whatever social media the school was using to promote itself.

Then she made a list of schools that she wanted to see in person to see if she liked the culture.  Honestly, she knew 3 minutes into an information session if she liked the school.  The person who introduces you to the school is a great barometer of what the school will be like- she separated the types of schools as follows:

  1. Touchy-feely- schools where the advisors have advisors.  These schools are very nurturing and will hold your hand through everything
  2. Cold- schools where they sort of feed you to the wolves- highly competitive atmosphere
  3. Pseudo intellectual- the kids are incredibly smart, and they let you know it at every single opportunity
  4. Quirky- kids that think outside the box about everything
  5. Intellectual- kids really do sit on the common and discuss philosophy
  6. Go team- half the campus will have there faces painted on game day, and students travel to away games
  7. Susie sorority- more than 50% of students are in Greek life and their is greek housing on campus
  8. granola- kids are so chill that literally nothing bothers them
  9. Academic- most kids have at minimum a double major
  10. Commuter- kids leave campus on weekends
  11. Involved- kids are involved in at least three different areas of campus life

Obviously, schools can carry more than one banner, but it’s very easy to break them down into categories.  Know thyself- which type of kid are you?  What are you looking for in a school? Which type makes you comfortable?  Which type of school would you thrive in? What type of people do you want to surround yourself by?

And now the list is down to 15, including two schools she has not toured/info session yet, but will most probably make the cut.  She will most probably apply to 15 schools- her school recommendation is 10 schools, but since she is top heavy on reach schools, she is spreading the field.  With the common app, applying to more schools is very easy- 90% of the work is done.  She has also been waived from admission fees at some of the schools, so cost is evening itself out.

Now- some of you are saying- “My kid won’t do this.” Some of you are parents that are asking the questions when you visit schools.  Some of you have kids who are sitting in the back row of info sessions and are on their phone the whole time.  Here’s what I say to that:

Maybe your child should not go to college right after High School.  No matter what anyone say, college is an option.  No one has to go to college.  College does not mean you will be successful – successful meaning that you will have an enriching career that challenges you and that you love.  If your kid hasn’t been interested in studying, and shows no interest in the college process, let them explore other options.  Colleges report six year graduation rates, because there are a lot of kids (going full time) who require 6 years to get a BA/BS degree, and it’s not usually because they changed majors.  Think about that.  Isn’t it better that a kid gets a job before they go to college so that they could think about what they want to do, instead of wasting time and money?

Also- community college.  Work a job, take a class.  Maybe they’ll find something they love.  Tech school- hello- to be an electrician or plumber or IT guy you have to be really smart, but they don’t require college.  And you will have a career and a skill.


You can think about which college you want to go to.

You can decide not to go to college

You can go to trade school.

You can be an entrepreneur. (but please take at least one accounting class so you have an idea about balance sheets)

The only bad option is doing something but not putting your heart and soul into it.  Enter the next phase of life passionate about something.  My daughter is passionate about continuing her education- that is evident by her choices.  But there is nothing wrong with being a 17 year old kid who does not know what they want to do.  i’m 54 and I still don’t know what I want to do.

The choice is figuring out what you want to do next.  If you love something, it always ends up working out.

The Socks

Last weekend I had date night with my Husband- dinner (awesome sandwich shop) movie (The Disaster Artist- I know-James Franco is on the shit list, but don’t throw every other person who worked on this movie under the bus- good movie) and shopping.  Shopping you say?  Yes.  We had time between dinner and movie so we ran to discount store cause my husband needed new gym socks.

Now, my blog friend Andrea recently wrote a blog posing the question, “Are products for men geared to be more simple” (well- to be fair she’s a brilliant writer and her hypothesis was worded much better, but you get the idea)  i commented to her- “No.  men just don’t like going through the hoopla of many choices etc.”  I know I’m generalizing, but I’m going to give you my real life example

My Husband actually had a specific idea of the gym socks he wanted.  Sort of.  He currently had gym socks that went about halfway up his calf.  He did not like these.  He wanted something else.


We approached the sock display.

me: What kind of socks do you want?

him: Ones not like the ones I have.

me: ( I held up a pair of quarter length socks) These?

him: How high do these go up?

me: They cover the ankle bone but that’s about it

him: Is that good?

me: Depends what you want.  This is length I get, because I like when my gym socks come over my sneakers.  It’s more comfortable for me

him: I don’t know

me: (I pick up a more ped like variety) These will be completely inside your shoe.  you will not see them

Him: (makes face)

me: (I hold up a pair that is between a ped and a quarter length) these will come up just slightly above the sneaker edge

him: (make face)  what do you think?

me: I don’t know what you want.  What’s the goal?

him: I don’t like the socks I have now.  They are too high.

me: Fine.  These are all shorter.  Which ones do you want?

him:  I don’t know.

me: (bang head against sock display)

You get the idea.  When faced with a plethora of sock choices my husband was at a standstill. It was his personal “Sophie’s Choice”.  To add more, once he’d decided on quarter length, we then had to choose brand, color and amount.  By the time we were on the checkout line I had a headache that only popcorn and a diet coke were going to cure.

When my Husband knew I was going to the drug store, he asked me to buy him a new toothbrush.  I asked him “What kind?”.  His response. ” Just choose one.”


  1. Do some people have trouble making a decision when faced with myriad choices?
  2. Are there too many options out there?
  3. How often do people really know what they want?
  4. Will my Husband actually like the socks he bought, (quarter length, black and grey, 10 pack, reebok) or will be back at discount store this weekend?