But what if Julia? What if??? I hear that a lot. In fact, I sometimes find myself saying that a lot.
Does it seem like as a culture we have become a lot more anxious as individuals in the last decade or two? I don’t have any concrete stats or studies handy right now, but I have heard that we, in general, experience a higher degree of anxiety than generations before. I equate some of this to the paradox of choice: meaning that now, more than ever before, we have SO many choices in almost everything, almost all of the time, that it becomes almost paralyzing. From what type of milk we’d like frothed in an attempt to feed our $5.00 per cup latté addiction, to how many television screen inches we are convinced will satisfy our deepest longings, to choosing the perfect hue of eggshell white we are to paint our drab and dreary living room walls (by the way, did you know there are 137 different whites in the Benjamin Moore paint colour palate? Really? 137??).
With endless amounts of choices presented to us, one might think that there is, in fact, a perfect choice, however one might not be exactly sure what that perfect choice is, or what type of perfection in which arena one might be trying to achieve. Thus, sets in the anxiety. If there is a perfect way to dress, decorate, consume, interact, entertain, relate, and socialize then what happens if we somehow fall short of this seemingly subjective mark? And if the mark is subjective, who’s subjective is it, and how do we know if we’ve achieved the nebulous right and perfect that we seek?’ Perhaps I’m getting a little too philosophical… I digress.
My point is that when we spend our moments fretting, worrying, and in perpetual unease about the what if, our present becomes filled with fear for the future in some way, shape, or form, leaving little room to actually live our lives in any kind of meaningful way… right now. In the present. OUR present. Most things are out of our total control, and it seems like many of us spend a lot of time trying to control that which we ultimately can’t, thus leaving ourselves to fight a losing battle. I’m not saying it’s bad to prepare for the future, or to use caution, logic, and good sense in our daily lives, but there is such thing as too much. Some times we need to just let go and have a little faith that ultimately the vast majority of our choices, decisions, and dilemmas are not a matter of life and death – and really don’t matter all that much. And thank goodness for that. In the grand scheme of things most of it is just small stuff anyway. So I ask the question: is it really worth all of that sweat?