The Burden of Choice
We live in an age where everything is at our disposal; the world as at the tip of our fingers. We can get too and from places faster than ever before, communicate with people all over the world, and access all sorts of information on just about, well, anything.
We live in a world that is vastly different from our parents world, and we are in many respects the first generation of a rapidly evolving social and technological world. This is the most exciting time to be a human - to be a prototype for future generations. All of a sudden we have been given everything, and there is no generation that precedes us that can sufficiently understand and guide us in the right direction - we are floating, hoping to somehow figure it all out.
Allow me to elaborate: I think that even though the world has always been constantly evolving, the most intense changes have happened in the recent past, and continue to snowball with each and every day that passes. As such, I don't think our generation has fully adapted to the changes that have taken place.
We barely have time to adapt to our brand new iPods before the new and improved version comes out.
We live in an age based on increased social media - publicizing our private lives to a vast global community. Our parents lived in an age where there was a certain structure involved in the domestic sphere and public sphere. There were social taboos that fixed small town communities, and a limited pool of resources from which to choose in order to make a life for oneself.
This week my friend Christina and I sat on her rooftop patio under the stars and discussed why we find it so hard to find love in today's day and age. Why and how on earth did our parents meet the loves of their lives at such young ages, and make it to 30+ years of marriage, while we are 23 and can't even find a proper date - (a date that will treat us with respect without being a pushover, and who is also not homosexual). We paused on this particular issue, and contemplated. Our analysis led to the conclusion that it is not that these kinds of men do not exist at all, but it is that there is too much choice, which makes it very difficult to narrow down the search. Where our parents were bound to more social and domestic taboos, as well as territorial boundaries, we, on the other hand, are more or less bound to nothing. Those communities - social, cultural, and religious - that are structured by tradition and rules, see a higher success rate in marriage in comparison to other communities that are not structured by the same rules. If it is true that we are a product of our environment, what happens now that our environment has expanded at such an accelerated rate? We are a part of several environments and communities - local and global - that our parents never had access to before; instead of 50 potential mates, we have hundreds; and instead of 50 potential mates we more or less interact with on a daily basis, we have hundreds of potential mates that come in and out of our lives in a flash because we have no time to develop any kind of meaningful feeling.
So what am I trying to say? I'm not trying to say our generation is doomed to never be in love, whatever the hell that means. I'm saying that more than ever, it's important for us to overcome our generation's burden of choice by demonstrating focus. I realize I should probably take my own advice, but knowing the problem and solution is half the battle. A variety of choice is overwhelming, and when we are overwhelmed, we start to fear the future. Therefore, choice should be approached with focus, swift decision, and zero regret. I heard something this week that changed my life forever: fortune favours the bold. Happiness, in relationships and all the other choices we have to make in life, results from ones action and subsequent reaction to the consequences of action. The cycle of choices will never end, but the only way we can move forward is to keep making those choices, and acting decidedly having weighed the pros and cons, and what feels most right to our true selves. From now on, I think I'll trust myself a little more to do exactly what it is that I want to do, and stand by all those decisions that, little by little, make me the person who I am, and want to be; constantly adapt without looking back. Otherwise, I don't think I stand a chance against my environment.