What do you do when you find yourself at a point in your life when you can make any one of a dozen choices, and you know each one will carry you down a path you can’t reverse and that will impact your life significantly?
When I was younger, I used to own a few of those “choose your own adventure” books. They usually were something along the lines of “for dragons, turn to page 36; for a dinner date with Mark, page 18.” I found these books upsetting, because this meant that I’d compulsively spend the next four hours following through every single choice pattern, all leading to somewhat disappointing pay-offs (Mark dumps you at a McDonald’s drive-through). Oh god, is this what my choices are going to be like?
I’m finishing my BA degree this summer, which means I get to move town and country again, choose a master’s degree, and wonder what will become of my relationship. It’d be enough to give anyone a lump in their throat. But, when things get too much, I find the internet a reassuring place to be- especially the websites dedicated to so-called “life hacks”.
Life hacks are simple solutions to your everyday problems and annoyances, usually made from household objects; tennis ball-pegs for the eternally lost car keys and frozen grapes to cool white wine without watering it down.They make me wish everything was that easy and practical, just a brief oh-why-didn’t-I think-of-that moment away. Application letter to a university? Write your letters in green ink and tell them how you love books.
Sometimes, I get the feeling that I don’t really know anything at all. I wonder how I should be making my choices (rational schemes, intuitive leaps?) or even give advice to others facing similar decision. But then, of course I did learn a hand full of things by now. Call them my personal hacks:
That if you screw up today, and feel like you want to die – chances are you’ll laugh about it tomorrow. Celt is always pronounced with a hard C, unless you’re talking about football. Always ask questions – ”no” can’t hurt you. The first draft of everything is shit.
Always write in your own voice (if you don’t know how to do that, read what you wrote aloud). Don’t drink milk when you have a cold. If the deadline of an academic essay is coming up, only read the first and last paragraphs of articles and book chapters for the argument- the rest is just proof. Real tragedy lies in ignorance (ask Oedipus). Be loyal to your friends.
Camping is an inexpensive way to travel, especially in countries so warm you hardly need to eat. Ink from a bottle is cheaper than fountain pen cartridges. And, finally – never be afraid to choose.
How do you deal with stress and difficult choices?