I’m sure everyone feels like this once in a while, like you don’t have any control over your life. Ultimately, none of us really have any control. But day to day there are a lot of little decisions that we make, what to wear, what to eat, that kind of shape these feelings of, if not control, than at least something, something like steering, like we’re providing a direction, even if we’re just kind of loosely nudging ourselves, guiding the day toward eventually getting into our beds at night.
But how many times do the days just kind of blend into the weeks? All of those little decisions that I talked about before, picking out clothes or figuring out what to eat, so many times they aren’t even really decisions at all. For a complete lack of imagination I can’t even decide what I’m hungry for, and so I’ll whip up one of the many meals I can prepare in thirty minutes or less. And it’s hardly a matter of taste. It’s, what do I have around the house? How quickly can I put something into my belly so I can stop being hungry and return to wasting time on the Internet?
So it’s this weird, I want to say paradox, but that word just sounds big for the sake of being big, and I’m not even sure if I’m using it in the correct way. But it’s a dilemma. It’s something that makes me scratch my head and think, I get so bored sometimes, I feel like I don’t have a lot of control of where life is taking me, but how often am I not even taking advantage of all of the little decisions that I could be making throughout the day?
I mentioned food. Let’s look at clothing. Is it really a choice to figure out what pair of pants I’m going to wear? They all look the same anyway. Jeans. Sweatshirts. Whatever’s clean really. But what if I started wearing a kilt? Or a pair of yellow slacks? That would be a definite decision, a taking of some sort of a stand. But what would I be saying? I’d be saying that I’m going to do something different. I’d be saying that I’m taking a measured interest in exactly how I’m going to dress myself. But more than anything else I’d be saying look at me everyone. Here I am planet Earth. Please pay attention to me.
And part of me wants that, but I don’t want attention just for the sake of attention. It’s one thing to get noticed for doing something cool or interesting, but its another thing to get noticed just because you’re so out there, so completely past the norms of convention, that you’re really just an aberration, that something’s wrong with you. You keep behavior like that up long enough and all of the sudden you don’t have a job, and you’re wearing crazy clothing all by yourself, and you’re talking to yourself on a park bench.
I don’t even really know what I’m talking about right now. I just look at my life, which I’m very happy with. This isn’t a complaint at all, just an observation or a reflection. Everything I do is steeped in choice. Even on the most boring days I’m constantly making choices. How many of these choices are just automatic, just because that’s the way that everything is automatically done? And all of these choices add up. They make me the person that I am. The food that I eat. The clothes that I wear. The things that I do when I’m not working.
I get up in the morning. I take a shower. I leave my house to get a bagel. I walk on the sidewalk. Why do I walk on the sidewalk? Because that’s how this city was laid out. By who? I have no idea. But I’m living my life based on the way that society has been engineered and built by countless people who lived throughout history, all who made their own countless little decisions that somehow shaped this world that I live in and established the rules and behaviors that I follow and conform to simply by being a de facto member of society.
This is a real ramble of an essay here. But every now and then I just can’t help but thinking crazy stuff like, why don’t we all live in oval houses instead of squares? Why are jeans blue instead of green? What makes the default option default?