Sunday, April 8, 2012

In which I am aware that "un-choose" isn't actually a real word, but I use it a lot anyway."

I had a conversation with a friend the other day about missed opportunities, particularly in relationships. She made the comment that "by choosing one person, you're automatically un-choosing someone else." That comment has been circling around my brain in various forms ever since.

As anyone who's ever talked to me when I first start dating someone can attest, I have commitment issues. Hardcore commitment issues. As in, sometimes, if a boy I like asks me on a date and shows signs of wanting a second date, I have a panic attack when I get home. (That's...normal...right?) As in, I usually spend the first month or so of every relationship I'm in freaking out over whether or not I actually want to be dating this guy. And it all comes back to my friend's statement: "By choosing one person, you're automatically un-choosing someone else." By choosing to exclusively date someone, or even to spend a lot of time casually dating them, you unavoidably cut yourself off from opportunities to be with somebody else. In rare occasions where you have more than one option to choose from, choosing someone involves very consciously un-choosing somebody else. And that's scary to me, because what if the person that I'm un-choosing is awesome? What if they're even more awesome than the person I choose? What if I miss out?

This issue extends beyond relationships though. By choosing to major in music, I un-chose English, Rec Management and well...every other major at my university. Whenever I choose to spend time with one friend, I am un-choosing to spend time getting to know another friend. I have a hard time making plans for the weekend, because I worry that something better will come up and I'll have to say no because I already committed to something else. Honestly, this is the reason I haven't learned a foreign language yet; I know that by choosing say, German, I would be un-choosing French, Italian, Spanish, Welsh, and Arabic. 

I'm starting to realize that there are so many different paths to take, opportunities to grab, books to read, and people to love that I am going to have to miss out on a few. I haven't come to terms with it yet, but I'm trying. I think the trick might be to focus on what I chose instead of what I un-chose. Focus on the (hypothetical) awesome boy that I'm smooching, instead of all the other awesome boys that I'm not. Concentrate on the thrilling, stimulating major I'm in, rather than the ones I passed up. Be thankful for the great friendships I've created and strengthened this semester, rather than the people I failed to get to know. If I find I missed something important, try and grab it the next time it whizzes by. If I realize one of the choices I made isn't working out, make a different choice. I'll probably still miss out on quite a few things, but in a world with infinite possibilities but finite time and resources, that's mathematically inevitable. And I choose not to feel guilty about un-choosing a few things. That's life.


  1. A certain amount of 'opportunity cost' will dog you all your life. It helped me a lot to go on a couple hundred casual dates with about 100 different young women. When I finally chose my wife, I was pretty sure she was the best fit I was likely to find even though she didn't possess every desirable attribute. Of course I didn't either.

    Best advice I ever received was to keep my eyes wide open before marriage and half closed after. Once you're married, it would be ridiculous to waste any time second-guessing your choice.

  2. I've always been the same way!!! It makes it hard to make normal everyday choices. It was easy when I was a kid or a missionary because other people made my choices for me, but now I have to choose stuff. It helps a lot when you write out your priorities and not spend time worrying about choices that are lower priority. You don't have to worry about missing out on macaroni and cheese because you had ramen for dinner, but you should spend some time deciding the best way to fit your educational goals into your day. And if you have problems with the high-priority stuff, write out pros and cons! It's cliché, but it can really help when you're stuck on a big decision you're trying to make.

    Just some ideas, in case you wanted them. :)

  3. Dude, I was going to write about how Jordan feels that way too, but he beat me to it. Darns and hecks.

  4. We're really alike. That is all.