Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I were better at making decisions. Perhaps I would have a career, or at least the hope of one in the foreseeable future. Perhaps, I would I have some semblance of financial stability. Perhaps I'd cease to feel like I'm waiting for something that may never come. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...
The other day, I saw a teenager sauntering down the street near Forbes and Murray Ave. By the way he walked, you could tell he was in no hurry to get where he was going. He seemed calm and carefree. I found myself resenting him the more I watched him. Who the @#$%! did this kid think he was? Didn't he know that life was awful? Why wasn't he trying to get a @#$%-ing job? And so forth.
It hit me that my resentment of this adolescent said a lot more about me and my perception of my own situation than anything else. Adulthood is a trade off, and through the lens of youth, a pretty good one. On the one hand, it means greater autonomy to think and act as you please. Your decisions, as well as their consequences, are yours and yours alone. This is also what I believe to be the worst part of adulthood, especially when you believe those decisions are often ill-conceived.
Depending on how far I choose to look back, I can think of any number of things I would probably do differently. Attending better schools, getting better internships, and studying a more "useful" discipline all come to mind. I could easily list others, but you get the idea. These were all decisions that I made, but for whatever reason, opportunity for progress continues to elude me.
As an adult, I've come to learn there are no "right" decisions, just ones that best suit your goals. Sometimes these decisions pan out, and sometimes they don't. I'd like to think that even in the face of failure or stagnation, freedom to make my own decisions is far better than living eternally as a clueless 16-year-old.
Was it a good idea to move to Pittsburgh? Should I have gone to grad school? How the hell should I know? I can only judge decisions based on their outcomes, and I think nine months is a little early to say one way or the other. I could weigh the pros and cons I've observed so far, but that would be another post.
Regardless of whether my decisions are ultimately helpful, harmful, or somewhere in between, perhaps I can take comfort in the fact that failure can often be beneficial. Discontent can be an excellent motivator, perhaps even stronger that pure ambition. I sure hope that's true, because I certainly have a lot more of the former.
(Note: The above was written by Andy. Despite what you all may think, I've been responsible for about 20% of the content of this blog)