The Dilemma of Choice

Recently, there has been this one particular Twitter handle that’s caught my attention and made me laugh on several occasions.  It’s called @FirstWorldPains and if you’re not familiar, check out some of the tweets.  You’ll see what I mean.

I’ve been a little out of sorts lately, more than usual, and coasting through weeks and months and maybe even the whole year.  Kinda like a nomad, just wandering through life without a destination.  This is atypical of the person I know myself to be.  But I have become like this.  I haven’t decided whether or not this is a good thing.  Once in a blue moon, I’ll play the “what if” game and I’ll wonder what my life would’ve been like if my family had stayed in South Korea.  What I would’ve been, where I would’ve lived, what I would’ve been doing.  My conclusions are drastically different than my current situation.  I probably would’ve gone the academic route, perhaps become a teacher.  Would’ve played the piano at church and met a nice young man and be married with a kid by now.  Doubt I would’ve done the whole accounting thing.  Probably never would’ve started singing or written any music.  Or even thought about the possibility of pursuing music as a career.  But, I probably would’ve been content.  Maybe even happy.

I’m not saying I’m not content and unhappy now.  But I’m not saying that I am, either.  I just don’t know.  I’m not sure if I’m content and I’m not sure if I’m happy.  Everything in my life points to the fact that I should be very content and I should be very happy, but if those conditions relate to some sort of feeling, I’m not feeling them much.  So I basically conclude that I am not content and I am not happy.  And this is my First World Pain.  Or what I now call, my Dilemma of Choice.

I grew up infused with a mixture of Korean and American values.  The latter told me that I could dream, as big as I wanted.  It also told me that I have a choice in life.  A choice to work hard and have everything I could ever want.  The former said the same thing but it also informed me of the “better” choice.  I grew up with this tension and still grapple with it as an adult.  Which value system is right?  Which one is better?  For every dream realized, there are probably twice as many (if not many, many more) unrealized ones.  But if I did not know that I could dream, is that a better life?  Would I be happier?  I’m not sure that there is a correct answer to such questions.  But these types of meanderings keep me up late into the night and they will not let me be.

My inability to just let life be because I think I will be happier if I had this or was that or whatever – this is my dilemma of choice.  I think this dilemma goes away if happiness is not relative.  So far, I tend to think a person could be more happy or less happy as a general state of being conditional upon circumstance.  However, if happiness is an absolute state of being not based on certain criteria, then maybe I wouldn’t be so unhappy about the fact that I’m not happy. (How’s that for a FWP.)

Maybe I’m focusing way too much on happiness.

After all, I don’t really care all that much about being happy.

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