This past week, I’ve had a lot of good conversations with good friends. All of them were centered around similar things: how horribly bad I am at being a human and how much I’d like to change that.
What I learned is that I am a un-extraordinarily bad person with many of the same hang-ups as equally bad people my age. And there was something comforting in learning that. So as I sit in my bedroom, recovering from a destabilizing, one-day flu experience, I’m at once totally annoyed at my silly failures and also totally okay with them.
Late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, I was reminded of a comment I had made a few years ago. Oddly enough, I had listened to a podcast a few days earlier that had essentially stated the same sentiment. The comment was that, in moments of moral/spiritual/general life grayness, when it seems like you just can’t figure out the right decision to make, whatever decision you make is the right one.
Calling it “the right one” may sound a little reductive and scary but it gets the point across. Sometimes, you’re faced with decisions and you don’t know how to choose. And in those cases, you make a choice and live with it, aware that you could’ve chosen the other way but content that you didn’t.
That last part is sometimes hard to come to terms with. Nostalgia is so much easier than experiencing life as it really is or was. And sometimes it’s hard to remember that the decisions we make now don’t erase or devalue the past, they’re just indicative of our present situations.
More than anything, I think the purpose of these ambiguous decisions tends to be about closing the door or keeping possibilities open. When the answer is clearly yes or no, you don’t have to worry about the right choice and you know the right choice will probably make your life easier. When the answer can either be yes or no, you’re faced with a decision. You either leave options open and hope for the best or you close the door and see where that takes you. In the end, both roads could lead to the same place. Or they could go to drastically different locations. But if you’re not willing to close the door, you’ll never really know.
In today’s world, it’s probably as important to be willing to end things as it is to be willing to begin things. Because ending is hard. It takes probably the same level of commitment as beginning does. And nowadays, we never really have to end, which just makes ending even harder. Every relationship I’ve ever ended I’ve so far revisited in some form or another. No one ever leaves your life, they just take a sabbatical. And maybe that’s a great way to live life. Maybe the world is much better when we can call up old boyfriends or reignite long-extinguished friendships. I’ve certainly felt that way in some cases. But maybe it would be good to know that the decisions we make are stable and immovable, permanently fixed in space and time, impossible to recreate or redo. Maybe there’s good in that too.
Admittedly, the former option is far more attractive to me than the latter. But maybe the latter is healthier for me than the former. Only time will tell.