A friend of mine was in from out of town this week. We went out for drinks the other night. He’s in the process of buying a brownstone in Brooklyn, and his wife is pregnant with their first child. Both pretty huge life changes. He was talking about how before the baby was on its way, other married people at his office would try and explain the importance of having children, how it was going to teach him the true meaning of love or whatever, and like, how it makes you really put things into perspective or something. He talked about how annoying this all was because he was already married at that point and basically on board with the whole having kids idea, so he never understood why were they trying to sell him so hard on something he’d pretty much bought? This is a phenomenon we have all experienced. People try to sell you on getting married, or moving to a new city, or some other major life change into which they themselves have invested huge portions of their self-identity and future prospects. From the outside, this can appear off-putting and sad. It feels like they are trying to rationalize and defend their own decisions, and that the best way they’ve discovered to do this is to try and convince you to make the same decisions, thereby validating them. But I don’t actually think this is what’s going on. I think what it is in the end is just a lack of imagination. Life is difficult and very complicated and it’s stressful to navigate it with any kind of confidence. So when you do finally pull the trigger on something and decide that it is the right path for you, it becomes very hard to imagine that it’s not just the right path for everyone. It’s not that you’re trying to validate your choices by getting other people on board, it’s that from where you’re standing nothing else makes sense. Why WOULDN’T you get married, or go back to school, or buy a 20% stake in a Subway franchise? You’ve crunched the numbers and weighed all of your options and nothing else makes sense. FOR ANYONE. Of course, the only way the world even functions is by the simple fact that this isn’t even remotely true. Everyone has to carve out their own path, and sometimes you even have to carve out a different path for yourself than the one you were originally so certain was the right one. The world is always changing and you just do what you can to keep up. Yesterday, it was trampoline accidents, today it’s exercise ball FAILs, and who even knows what tomorrow brings. Relax. We will all find out soon enough.
These guys definitely know what I am talking about when I talk about MAKING INTELLIGENT DECISIONS. (Via TheHighDefinite.)