Yeru Ebuen –
If you’ve visited the Oman Daily Observer office in Al Ilam, the first thing that will catch your attention upon entering the building will be the giant aquariums which served as the focal point of the lobby.
When I joined three years ago, I was very impressed with them. I saw the fishes on them as touches of nature in a rather stoic environment. Back then, the aquariums were filled with different fishes and it was well maintained that even the rocks looked alive under the neon blue lights.
Two years later, they started to show signs of problems. For some reason, things weren’t working right. I’d like to think that the people maintaining them notice a leak — a small one but hard for them to find.
I walked in one day and noticed that the fishes were transferred to a small tank — my favourite, a clown fish I called ‘Little Nemo,’ was not happy sharing a small space with dozens of other fishes bigger than her. For some reason, I can imagine her getting abused. Her world has just gotten smaller and definitely, nobody like being in a crowded place — even fishes.
The maintenance people drained the tank, dismantled all the glass pieces and put them back together. In two weeks’ time, they started filling it again plugging the places where the possible leak was coming from.
Just when I thought it was done, they started draining the tank again a few weeks later. It became a cycle for almost a year that the ‘fix’ process became an annoyance. The fishes meanwhile were made to join another tank, Little Nemo included who was trying her best not to be traumatised by the whole ordeal. I always wondered why the problem persisted so long but trusted the people enough that they know what they are doing.
After a year of dragging work, today I passed by the lobby again and saw the mood lighting was back. The tank was filled. The rocks stacked up to their original form. It was also filled with water but there were no signs of the fishes yet. Whether the problem was fixed or not remains to be seen in the next few days.
I was having my regular morning breakfast of doughnut and coffee when I noticed this. I stared at that tank for a few minutes amazed that sometimes, even in the most insignificant of moments, we realise something profound.
The people in charge of fixing the aquarium have spent maybe hundreds of hours trying to figure out what was happening. Which made me wonder, “When do we come to a decision that we have enough?”
The thought was followed by another question now expanding to even deeper parts of life. When do we let go of things? When something in life is already not working, when do we make the decision that we had enough and it’s time to move on.
For the case of the tank, when should somebody decide that it’s better to discard the old and just invest on something new?
I imagined the workers trying to fix what seemed to be exhaustingly unfixable. Would they be missing something if they just give up? Would they ever regret replacing something just because it was no longer worthy of their time?
I pride myself as a good problem solver. Today, I realised that sometimes, we are faced with situations where we just can’t win. I realised too that whatever decision we make, especially if it has the potential to dictate the course of our life, we will always have regrets. As humans, we have the capacity to entertain the “what ifs” and because of this, something will always nag at us years after having made a decision.
Was it worth it trying to fix a tank that didn’t work for almost one year? Would it have been wiser if they just got a new one?
With stain of chocolate in my mouth and a dazed look on my face, I still can’t answer for sure. What I’ve come to understand about myself is that in making decisions, I usually choose the one that I would regret the less and the decision that I can live with the most.
How about you, how do you make important decisions?