The Gray Areas

I’m often indecisive.

I’m told it’s because I have FOMO: the fear of missing out. It’s true. But it’s not just fear. It’s also confusion. I’m confused at how we make decisions without knowing the full implications of our choices.

Because not all choices have a clear right and wrong. Many are simply gray.

And growing up, no one really tells you about the gray areas.

How as you learn a thing or two the world becomes complicated. Right and wrong become prejudices, a matter of opinion.

Sometimes I long for a bit of dichotomy, a clearer definition between the choices at hand. Someone or something to tell me to do this, not this. This is the one you want, not that one, and here’s why.

Instead, I’m met with decisions with such far-reaching outcomes, I can’t even begin to understand their impact in the present frame. The concept of right and wrong aren’t even considerations.

Take dating for instance. Dating implies there is a chance you may meet someone who will forever change your trajectory. Yet our attitudes towards dating are so nonchalant. Meet a girl. Talk to her. Connect with her. Desire her. Commit to her. Marry her. Raise a family and live “happily” to the end of your days.

A laughably inaccurate portrait of love for most. But notice how things escalate when each small step so quietly closes so many unknown doors. Each decision guiding you to an unforeseen end point, while obscuring all others.

The truth is, we get lost in love and lust with all the right and wrong people at all the right and wrong times, sending our lives bouncing between an infinite number of outcomes in the process.

And we are none the wiser.

And what about the countless other decisions we make throughout life?

How often do we consider that each friend we choose influences us in ways we can’t even comprehend? How they bias us, planting, rejecting and shaping every thought that crosses our mind. The people for which we sacrifice our time and emotions for. The ones who will celebrate our most important achievements and mourn our heaviest losses.

Or what about the place we call home? It’s the anchor to our entire universe. It dictates who we meet, the opportunities we encounter and the life we end up living. It can be a place of sanctuary or one’s own personal hell depending on where and how you build it.

And work. It’s not just a paycheck. It’s where you trade your most valuable belonging for some sort of perceived sustainability. It’s your mark on the world. Outside of children, it’s often your biggest impact on the future of mankind.

And still, we fumble our way through decisions. Choosing the things that ultimately make up our existence with so little thought. No guidelines, not even a rudimentary map. Just cause and effect to guide our way.

In a world of bright, shiny distractions, it’s amazing to me that the primary color of so many of our decisions is gray.