This is one of those articles you read and think – shit, I’ve been going about this totally wrong. I went to college. I listen to my mother. I watch the Today Show most mornings. How did I fuck this up so badly?
“I’m just keeping my options open.” It’s borderline my credo. Since graduating from college, I have applied it to everything from the careers on my horizon to the clothes in my closet. And that’s just the important stuff. Religion – testing out various churches to really explore where I best fit in. Boys – keeping a few people around just in case. Weekend plans – might be on the LES Friday unless Happy Hour at work keeps me late, but I’ll call you.
I’m the Jack of All Trades Master of None (read: Comm Major). Apparently this is not only irrational, as the article explains, but it is predictably irrational. I’m dumb, and anyone could have told me I would be.
My initial reaction to the article was obstinacy. One crazy general from the o-dark-hundreds goes with the asshole military break-them-down to build-them-up approach. Clearly in no way applies to my deeply meaningful life of existentialism. Options, like variety – spice of life.
Then there was that part about the study, and the game…and MIT. (Go back and read that part if you cheated the first time. Cheaters never prosper. Unless they always prosper and I was wrong about that too).
“Why were they so attached to opening all those doors?” the article asks. “The players would probably say they were just trying to keep future options open. But that’s not the real reasons, according to Dr. Ariely and his collaborator in the experiments, an economist who is now at Yale”
“‘Apparently they did not care so much about maintaining flexibility in the future. What really motivated them was the desire to avoid the immediate pain of watching a door close.’ Dr. Ariely (hate him) says. In the experiment, the price was easy to measure in lost cash. In life, the costs are less obvious – wasted time; missed, smarter opportunities.”
In life. Fuck.
So if not open options then what? Apparently, decisions. Definitive decisions. The fact that I couldn’t, after a good deal of thought, find one open option to close likely proves the point. I want to keep freelance writing so I can maybe develop a future career in magazine journalism. I think I’ll keep in touch with boy because you never know how people or situations will change. I feel like any day now baggy cargo pants are going to make a total comeback.
Apparently I should put more energy into my current job, cut the guy off, and donate the pants.
Then again, name five important things to come out of MIT in the past few centuries.