As an economics major, I've heard an awful lot about what it means to make a rational decision. Whether it's making sure marginal cost equals marginal benefit or using past experiences to verify that you won't regret what you're about to do when you wake up tomorrow, it's fair to say that most humans are ruled by the need to make decisions that are the best for them in the moment the decision is being made.
Notice that I say "most." This has less to do with fly-by-the-seat of your pants people and more to do with outliers who do crazy things and call it rebellion.
So allow me to state that a large majority of the human population wants the decisions they make to be regarded as sensible. And to be decisions they won't look back on later and regret.
But if we are all operating on this desire to do things the right way the first time, why are we constantly throwing our arms up in defeat? We can't possibly be that misguided, right?
Well...quite possibly we really are that misguided. First off, we're clearly not all economics majors who have four years to perfect finding equilibrium on a graph. And secondly, there's some sort of underlying tingling in our mind that craves the drama of disaster.
You've heard it before, right? That women are crazed lunatics who go from lovely young ladies one day to psycho maniacs the next? Well, I'd hate to concede to some arguments I'm currently in regarding this issue, but I'm afraid women are guilty of this 'drama is delightful' mentality a lot of times, many of which occur within the boundaries of relationships.
So why exactly do we do what we do? Whether it be screaming that he was 'making eyes' at the stacked blond walking passed or just insisting that there was something in his answer that implied you do, in fact, look fat in those jeans, women certainly start their share of idiotic disagreements.
Maybe it's because we want to feel something. We seem to have a hard time just existing problem-free and happy. That's not to say you don't feel the love shared each day you're in a strong relationship; it's just that many people would agree that nothing burns deeper than real and true anger.
And there seems to be some sort of unspoken agreement that that type of emotion can jolt you back into the level of passion that you were craving.
But all of those women tricks aside, I return to the issue at hand: decision making, especially within the realm of romance.
It has been shown that decisions are also governed by the penalties received if you choose the wrong answer and the incentives available if you succeed. And I think we can all agree that dating decisions offer results that are pretty much polar opposites. You're either launched into romantic paradise or sailing into singlehood.
And so we're faced with high-pressure quandaries at every turn. The consequences of which are constantly felt.
If you've found someone you like- really like- you don't want to do anything to mess it up. You start over-analyzing everything you say, everything you text, everything you laugh at. And it becomes one gigantic headache. But it all seems to be okay because the end result is exactly what you want: love.
But what if the decisions become so much more than whether or not to invite him to come watch a movie with you?
What if weeks have passed, you're meshing well, you feel like he's meant to be in your life, but there are constraints to the situations that not even the most romantically-minded of us are ready to face?
Well, the thing is- no matter how overwhelming the situation- it's still decision-making. It's still asking yourself before a 'yes' or 'no' is uttered whether marginal benefit outweighs marginal cost.
Lately, I haven't really felt like the same Kelsey when it comes to love. For so much of the last year love has been, in my mind, the epitome of human relationships. And exactly what I wanted. Because no matter how many sad stories I heard about it, I was going to do it right. I was going to make my own fairy tale and show the world that love could still be what it is in Pride and Prejudice and the like, in a truly honest way- not in a stick your fingers in your ears and ignore the train wreck you're creating kind of way.
But in recent weeks I've just felt worn down- worn down by each and every day that love doesn't go the way we want it to. By the number of times situations we want to be easy turn out to hurt.
And yes, I think I'm 2o years old and being unfairly dramatic. But I'm also 20 years old and heartsick.
Heartsick from bad news from home and heartsick from complicated situations here. And I don't have that same lighter-than-air feeling that ruled my summer and early fall.
Today on one of my favorite websites there was a graphic that had a brain holding a leash wrapped around a heart. And the brain said "Don't go that way! You got hurt last time."
Our brains are insisting that we make decisions wisely. But our hearts are tugging at the lead wanting to feel something more than just rational.
So what am I supposed to do?
I'm supposed to pick myself up from this valley and be the resilient Kelsey I know in my heart that I am. I'm supposed to decide if this path I'm following is still going to take me to the same place I wanted to go two months ago. I'm supposed to take care of myself in the present tense, not worry about who the Kelsey of a few days or weeks ago would have said.
Situations change and we have to do our best to change with them.
And while it may not be the most glamorous goal at twenty years of age, we have to remember that there's nothing embarrassing about being rational.
I'm not sure if this is appropriate to the subject of the blog...but your thought of the day comes from the movie The Way We Were:
Katie: "If I push too hard it's because I want things to be better, I want us to be better, I want you to be better. Sure I make waves you have I mean you have to. And I'll keep making them till your everything you should be and will be. You'll never find anyone as good for you as I am, to believe in you as much as I do or to love you as much."
Hubbell: "I know that."
Katie: "Well then why?"
Hubbell: "Do you think if I come back its going to be okay by magic? What's going to change? What's going to be different? We'll both be wrong, we'll both lose. "
Katie: "Couldn't we both win?"
Peace, love and self-preservation,