There is no part of the human condition I think about more than being forced to make decisions. Not just any decisions, but life-changing decisions where one choice is better than the other and you can’t know which is better until long after the decision has been made — decisions that make people wonder:
Should I go back to college?
Is taking this job the right move for my family?
Do I regret having children?
Did I marry the right person?
The decisions that lead to commitments add weight to our lives. When we see them as good, that weight is rewarding and gives us a sense of purpose. When we see them as bad, the weight is a burden.
Decisions that have us avoiding commitments are freeing, but can also leave us feeling lonely and without purpose.
Too many decisions made in either direction turns a life into a cliché — The parent who cheats to leave their spouse and kids in a marriage they never wanted; the nomad with no deep relationships because they never let anyone in.
Are the people who experience those situations bad at making decisions, or do they just repeatedly make the wrong choice with impossible-to-predict decisions and are living with the consequences? Maybe it’s the same thing.
There’s no way to know which decisions are right or wrong because they depend on the individual. Some people regret going to college, or moving, or getting married, or having children, but some people also do those things and are happier because of it. They have things in common we can mimic to maximize our chance of happiness, but that doesn’t change how we ultimately determine that ourselves.
I guess that’s the safe haven from the unbearable magnitude of our decisions — at any point we can decide to see our decision as good. Since we are the determiners, believing a decision was good makes it true for us, and that’s what matters.