The past few days I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about making active decisions in life. It all started with a magazine article that talked about “floating” as a condition in which we accept circumstances and take whatever life gives us. Fast forward, one day we wake up living a life in a city with another person and working at a job that makes us “happy enough” but are not quite what we envisioned for ourselves.
I think for a large part of my life, I was floating. Things happened so easily for me. I did what was expected of me and I felt good achieving them. My measurement of success rested heavily on the opinions of the people I looked up to. I wasn’t unhappy. But I didn’t feel alive. At times life felt a bit lethargic, like I could just float (there it is again) through it with one eye shut. At other times, life felt unnecessarily stressful, like I was spending my energy worrying about things that didn’t matter that much to me.
Right around my mid-twenties, I went through my first of many quarter-life crises (man, our 20s really trip us up!). If you’ve been through that process, you know the familiar symptoms and soul-searching questions. And to be honest, I still don’t have it all figured out (hey I’m still in my 20s). What I do know, however, is that life is not a perfectly laid out itinerary. Part of the fun (and scariness) is that you don’t ever quite know where you’re headed. On top of that, there is no longer a “right” or “wrong” direction to go (I think that’s why school felt so comforting). So you’ve got to listen to that voice in your head and trust when something doesn’t feel right. You’ve got to actively question why you make or forgo decisions. At the risk of being entangled in philosophical questions that have no clear cut answers, you’ve got to spit out those questions and allow yourself the pleasure (and torture) of digging a way out. And you’ve got to have the courage to face an answer that feels right but f**king scary as hell.