July 18, 2009

My friend wrote this post on the positive effects of certain events of his life. He references a study about how people, who are asked to describe a hypothetical situation of a positive event never happening in their lives, actually experience a more positive mood afterward than those asked to describe the actual positive experience. And while I can completely hypothesize about how different my life could be, it doesn’t make me happier or sadder.

Perhaps it’s because I feel that I have had a choice in every life-defining moment, or at least, I very much don’t want to believe that my life has been determined by other people. Sure, on some level, it was dumb luck that I met my boyfriend. And the same dumb luck had me growing up in the Midwest with three siblings. But I chose to go to Cornell for college. I chose to get into my relationship with my boyfriend. I chose to come back to Wisconsin. I chose the job I’m in currently. And, I’ve chosen all my friends – at least as much as anyone can.

Hypothetically though, I could’ve gone to school in Madison. I probably would’ve made similar friends to the ones I have now, and I would have found a nice Midwest boy. Or I could’ve stayed with my old boyfriend. And probably just broken up a year or so later. Or I could’ve gone to the West Coast after graduating. I’d be with the boyfriend – maybe married? Maybe just doing about the same thing I’m doing now.

I could just have a very positive outlook on life. I guess some people might view it as arrogant to think that I make only good decisions. But I trust myself enough that if I make a decision, things are going to work out.


One comment

  1. Plus there’s a certain futility in wondering, isn’t there? I mean, even if it would have resulted in more net happiness for you to have made any of those different decisions, the fact remains that you made the decisions the way that you did. And there’s no sliding over into a universe where you didn’t. It’s more beneficial to engage in what-ifs before you make the huge decision. Afterwards you can’t unmake it. Sometimes you can seem to unmake it, but it’s usually at a much larger cost than just having made the decision in that manner to begin with.

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