Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Analysis Paralysis

Allow me to think out loud.

If there is anything I desire from this traveling extravaganza, it is this: clarity of purpose.

Purpose is something that we all seek. It's human nature to long for a reason to get out of bed each day. I've heard a number of times that those who feel they have a role to play in their community claim to be the happiest, most purpose-filled, longest-living people on the planet. (Watch the movie Happy to learn more about these incredible people).

Having a role doesn't appear to be enough, however. Many people get up and go to work, fulfilling a role for 8 hours or more, but that role doesn't fulfill them. The key, then, is not just a role, but a role within a community. Being a part of something greater than yourself. Something that supports more than just your nuclear family.

But my fear, and the subsequent confusion in this role-seeking, is the fact that community isn't what it once was. The earth's population is 7.7 billion, and yet we've never been so lonely. Our independence has led to isolation. Our local communities have been all but usurped by a global community. Neighbourhood hangouts have become digitalised, conversations with market stall owners have turned into text chats with the delivery guy, who's bringing our groceries to us. We used to belong to one or two communities. We had our school folk, or our church folk, or our pub folk. Or all of the above. Now there are hundreds of both real and virtual communities to choose from on a daily basis. How does one choose? Sometimes the choices can be so overwhelming, the only one that seems viable, is Netflix.

The more traditional societies seem to have it easy. Individuals are born into a role. Fisherman. Basket weaver. Farmer. Hunter. But is that better? Perhaps it is better only if you are ignorant to your options. As soon as the options are spread out before you, does what you have no longer carry the same value? After all, a person does not scorn the bread they have to eat, until they see a banquet before them, just out of reach. Suddenly the bread they were thankful to have seems measly and inadequate. Ignorance can be blissful, and too many options can by paralysing.

I don't have the luxury of ignorance. I see my choices, and they are many. I have the freedom to choose, and for that I am grateful.

But if I am so free, why do I feel so bound by indecision? I am suffering from paralysis by analysis. Where to live? What to pursue? Should I study again? If so, what, and where? Where to work? What to write? The options stretch on, endlessly.

All I can say is: thank goodness for Netflix.

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