The fact that my mom, dad, stepmom and stepdad actually get along (and well) is usually a mind-trip for people. But it's a luxury for us. For sure. One big, extended happy family. It wasn't always like that, of course. We all worked hard to get here, to be sure. I guess you could say that my family background was my training for turning something generally considered to be undesirable or a legitimate reason for estrangement in many cases into a much better thing. The ultimate lemons into lemonade.
Anyway, the point is that we had a great dinner and wonderful conversation! One of the points my mom made really struck me.
She said that the beauty of our situation is we have no choice.
"Your situation is enviable because you have no money, no choice."Interesting.
"We have too many choices," she said. "And when you have too many choices, you end up doing nothing."Bob referenced the book The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz
Though I haven't read his book (Bob has) I have watched Barry Schwartz' TED talk and it's really fascinating. It's 19 minutes long but well worth the time. His premise is that our unhappiness is rooted in the abundance of choice.
"The more options there are, the easier it is to regret anything at all that is disappointing about the option that you chose." - Barry Schwartz (TED Talk)It is true that we have fewer options available to us certainly from a financial perspective and we are feeling freer and happier than ever. Perhaps it is because we have fewer options and it's therefore easier to feel happy- the Paradox of Choice. Or perhaps it's because we have finally taken the reins in our lives and are paving a future of our own design vs. being hamsters on an endless wheel.
Either way, there is a beauty to our situation like Mom said. I completely get it. And am so grateful for this unlikely opportunity.
All those times I fantasized about selling everything and just seeing what happens... well, we finally did it. Not on a whim, but because we were forced. We really had no choice. Would we have done it without HAVING to do it? Probably, most likely, almost certainly not. As much as we fantasized about living as vagabonds, we never did it before... when the choice was there.
Have any of you read The Paradox of Choice? What are your thoughts on this?
What is the answer? Barry Schwartz suggests the answer is fewer choices. But is that even possible? In the face of 'too many choices' how do you powerfully choose any one thing? My thought is that you just do. What about you?
Barry Schwartz on the Paradox of Choice - Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied. TED Ideas Worth Spreading
TOMORROW'S post will be a guest post from none other than my MOM on this subject and how it relates to her life.
Our new view: