The Cosmo Collective
September 10 2019

making life choices blind

The unknown is terrifying. The most terrifying version of the unknown is the one we each face, the personal unknown of our lives. Most people, for this very reason, like to plan their lives out. It provides a sense of control and structure to the chaos of the unknown, which is full of infinite possibilities. Infinite possibility is mind-boggling and rather daunting.

We see this as young as the age of four when we ask the fledgling generations what they would like to be when they're older. It seems some of the most popular options for four-year-olds are: teacher, actor, astronaut, firefighter, chef, ballerina, doctor, athlete, writer and singer/songwriter. Much more ambitious than my weekly goal to make it through without ordering takeout and a bottle of wine. The point is, from a young age we start planning out our lives, or rather our parents do - maybe it makes them feel calm when their children so confidently and knowingly declare their own future even though said parent has no real idea what they want to be when they grow up.

Plans are good, they're something to work towards, a road map of sorts with signs to clearly highlight the paths that should be taken and possibly the paths that should not. It's a "the best way for you to get to point A, (where you are currently) to point B (an astronaut on Mars), is via the following route which will take you approximately ten years and hundreds of thousands of pounds... please take the next exit and make a U-turn"...

All jokes aside plans are calming and guiding and make the scary, huge and rather random universe feel a little less scary, a little smaller and a little less random.

At the same time plans can be restrictive. They can guide us too specifically, blinding us to side streets that might actually be exciting or interesting. Detours that provide happiness over high pay. There might be an incredible playground two roads to the right but you'll never see it because "please take the next left and keep straight for approximately three years". This is the essence of the scariness of the unknown of life. The fact that every decision means that we are missing out on something else (aka #FOMO). It's inevitable but wouldn't you rather know all your choices? It would be nice to at least have the option. Sometimes, especially when you have a dream from a very young age, it's much harder to consider all the options. You just don't see them as clearly.

It can actually be helpful to not know exactly what you're going to do at every moment because the truth is, you can never really know how these choices are going to pan out anyway. You can never really know what the best choice is. One might offer more pay, one might be more fulfilling, one might lead you to your favourite person in the whole world and multiple others will likely be shitty pot-hole covered gravel car parks or just dead ends.

The concept of making the "right" choice should be abandoned entirely. Maybe we should all adopt the mentality that the "right" choice is always the one we made because even if it appears to be a mistake, it's woven into the fabric of our life journey and who we are. Ultimately, if every decision can be deemed "right" either because its outcome is positive or it provides some lesson, growth or mentality changing experience then you can make no wrong choices.

We may as well make life choices blind then!

Well no, not completely. We can still use logic, make pros and cons lists, weigh them up, talk to people who know, talk to people who don't. Optimise the situation so we get as close to the best route as possible, but at the end of the day, if you can never know for sure what the "right" choice is, then planning too much is potentially a waste of time and the chance that it might narrow your mindset and blind you to other opportunities could be damaging. Maybe the key is to not over think it.

Instead, go with what feels good and try expose yourself to every option. Don't let your life plans, your road map even, stop you from seeing other avenues, streets, lanes, roads or groves... and if it all gets too overwhelming take solace in the fact that wearing a blindfold might be better than wearing blinkers that are targeted for just one lane. At least when you're blindfolded you have more options laid out in front of you. Just close your eyes tight and pick... and maybe remove the scary, dangerous, bad for your health or downright stupid options before you start ;)