Life is a Smorgasbord by Dan Lewis

This prompt seeks to explore the concept presented by the phrase, ‘life is a smorgasbord’. To understand the expression, we first have to understand that a smorgasbord is a buffet-like presentation of many small dishes where one is allowed to take as many servings as they wish.

This phrase suggests that we have a wide array of choices to make in life and life can be smooth if we get comfortable and sample these choices. This paper, however, seeks to dispute this by explaining the different aspects of life that hinder us from sampling choices and critically evaluating them as they come.

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In recent times I have always wondered how effective the choices I make have been. For instance, take my job as the casing example. Though it is stressful and many are the times I feel like strangling my boss and this one co-worker who sits next to me, it’s not like I have much of a choice any way.

With my experience, the scope of my job market is still a little bit too narrow and with bills to pay, I do not think I have the time or the resources to be choosy. Although in recent times I have divulged my efforts into my recently discovered hobbies, I’m still left with the question, ‘is it truly worth it?’

In as much as we would want to believe that we have choices in life, we still do not, and it is the illusion of choice that we hold so dear that gets us going, by pushing us to do great things that we would not have done if we were to choose to do them. Take the literal meaning of a smorgasbord for instance.

Who on earth would not love to have a wide array of foods to choose from every day? However, it is, imperative that we realize that this lifestyle cannot be sustained for long before the freedom gets into us and it is only thereafter that we realize this. Usually, this is after the consequences start to manifest themselves.

Choices come with consequences and it is the weight of these consequences that inform our actions in regard to the choices we make. It is generally accepted gluttony is a vice that is inherent in all mankind and animals alike. However, it is the cards that life presents to us that lead us to a contented lifestyle.

For instance, I love movies, but as much as I would love to watch every box office release, my time is still limited and I have to fit in as many activities as possible in my twenty four hour day. Between work and my studies, family and friends, as well as some personal time, there is hardly enough time left for movies or travelling.

Though there are some of us who love what they do and at the end of the day are happy with what they have achieved in life, at one point in our lives, circumstances have to push us to discover that which we so much believe we love. If most of us had a choice when we were young, then our schools would have been empty.

There are realities in life that we have to live with, and it is these realities that make the world move on. It is not choice that inspired the agrarian revolution or the industrial revolution, though we might want to believe that our ancestors in Mesopotamia had a lot of time and a lot of idle land to experiment with. The necessities of the time, such as drought and over population had already taken a toll on their food supply and it reached a point where they had to be creative to survive.

Historical philosophers did tell us that man by nature is both selfish and lazy and would like to achieve as much as possible with as little effort as possible. Why then do the world’s populations rise up so early and go to bed so late having toiled all day just to see if they can achieve something? If we all had a choice every day would be a holiday, and we would all be flocking the beaches to bask.

However, we have bills to pay, an education to get, family to take care of and a world to nature. It is these things that make us great. They make us great sons and daughters, parents and grandparents, ambassadors and activists and in as much as we might want to believe that those who are voted as Nobel laureates had a choice to promote peace in the world they live in, they simply could not choose to live amidst conflict.

They are forced by circumstances in the same way that we do not choose to be healthy just because we love to work out. We might want to believe that we work out because we want to be fit, but the fact still remains that most of us fear obesity and gaining weight.

There are cases of some of us who choose the easy way out, like the bulimics who choose to purge after eating in order to stay thin, or the thieves who choose to get rich without toiling the hard way. However, they have to live with the consequences and it is these consequences that deter those of us who are not like them not to engage in these activities. Therefore, the phrase, ‘life is a smorgasbord’, is not true.