I find myself increasingly confronted with a luxury problem: too many choices! So many fun projects, beautiful countries to visit, interesting people to meet, films to see, books to read: it’s impossible to keep up. The more the 24-hour economy (with new media and the internet) goes full steam ahead, the more we have to choose what we do and don’t want to watch, know, learn and do. In the past you could always have, see and do more as long as you were fast enough. Now we have to accept that we will never keep up-to-date with everything and we especially have to fast learn how to filter.
My generation (1970) stems from something of a transition phase. While we were studying, the internet was just coming on the scene. We started far more slowly, but adapted along the way. The generation before us sometimes loses track completely. And the new generations? They don’t know any better and feel like a fish in water. If the scenes in a game or film, for example, don’t change every few seconds, they get bored.
You used to order ‘a cup of coffee’. Go to Starbucks these days and you get a series of choices: espresso, cappuccino, latte? Tall, grande or venti? Decaffeinated, organic or extra strong? With soymilk, fat-free or regular? Sugar, demarara or sweetener?
If everything in our lives is faster and there are more options, then what’s the impact on relationships? While teleworking, interim jobs and one-man-banks are almost standard these days, we largely still stick to the ‘old’ image of a relationship. That you seek out a suitable partner and/or soul mate and that you stay with them for the rest of your life. Or, as happens more often these days, that you make two or three attempts. There are (eternal) triangle relationships, swingers’ parties and polyamorists, but they are not discussed much.
Honesty and fidelity?
In my book ‘Have you find Your Mr. Wrong yet?‘ I investigate what people think about relationships, honesty and fidelity. It leads to surprising (personal) insights. In the Mr. Wrong Survey about half opted for ‘security’ while the other half went for ‘adventure’.
The reason for the book, of course, is that I am involved with one of the ‘wrong’ men. Not a criminal or conman, just an (ex?) playboy. To start with, naturally, I said ‘that’s not for me, I am not interested’, but within no time he turned out to be good fun. That’s the irritating thing about making choices: I have learned to check out all the options. And ‘wrong men’ have a lot of charm, give you their full attention and offer an exciting lifestyle.
In all other aspects of my life I choose untrodden paths and adventure. I have never had a permanent job, have travelled through over 100 countries and am officially ‘homeless’ since I rented out my house. Yet as far as love is concerned, under the influence of the good advice of caring friends, I always tended to first choose ‘security’.
But what is security? Have you ever looked on those sites for married people looking for a lover? There are even alibi websites where you can buy a doctor’s appointment with an e-mail confirmation or a 5-day seminar with hotel reservation… And the statistics on affairs don’t lie: even the best-behaved accountants play away from home sometimes!
Maybe a Mr. Wrong is not so wrong after all. You know the risks and if it should go haywire at least you’ve had a good time. How many people get stuck in relationships that aren’t fun anymore? I will keep you up to date regarding developments: I don’t know myself how this story/book is going to end.
I made an unconventional choice and am sticking my neck out by writing about it. Life is about making choices. My advice is not to get stuck on a dilemma but rather to take action. And then get stuck into what you have chosen: if you don’t like it you can always change. And if you make a wrong choice, give yourself another chance.
The Dutch singer Karin Bloemen wrote a beautiful song entitled ‘guts’:
Each day you have another choice:
Do you keep running or do you rigorously turn your life upside down
Get rid of the garbage, the chasing and fuss
If you have the guts it’s never too late
To realize this is no longer acceptable
Don’t reach for the stars, go and get them.
We all know how we like our coffee but are often not as picky where it concerns the important things. Have you ever thought about why you do the things you do? Your work, relationship, place of residence, friendships, obligations? Are you aware you have a choice? If you choose for what you are already doing, then enjoy it all the more. Want something else? Whether you choose security or adventure: take a step and get on with it.
‘It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’ – JK Rowling