Free to Decide

Sartre, or Camus - or was it Kramer? - said that all humans not only have the freedom to decide what they will do, to a certain extent, we have an obligation. Free will is both a gift and curse, they say, since no matter what we do we must choose one way or the other.

And I - I say that maybe we're defined by the choices we make and maybe not, maybe we make the choices because of who we are and not the other way around. I don't even begin to suggest that I would claim to defend the merest hint of a statement to that effect.

But just in case our lives really can be summed up by our decisions, our lives at the moment anyway, here are several of the decisions I'm currently rassling with.

What do you do when someone you care about is doing something mean to someone else you care about? For example, what if your spouse insists on locking the cat in the basement during the night so she can sleep soundly? She comes first, obviously, but how much should you be willing to allow her to inconvenience him? I spotted this same quandary in watered-down form Monday in the garden section at Lowe's, as I watched a small, poorly-supervised child pitch landscaping stones into a decorative fountain. You know somebody's going to have to clear those out of there eventually, but the kid sure seems to be enjoying himself. Then again, if you don't stop him no one will, and he'll fill the whole pond with red and orange lava rocks. Then *again,* it's not your kid, so...

Is it better to enjoy your days as much as possible, spending your free time freely, or are you not really "making the most" of your life if you aren't constantly pushing yourself to learn new things, set new goals, surmount new obstacles?

Do you learn more by switching careers often, or is that just an excuse made up by people who skip around without ever having the patience to master one thing at a time?

Is motorcycling really dangerous if you're reasonably cautious and exercise decent judgement? Are there really only two kinds of riders: those who've gone down and those who are going to?

Will I regret not having kids until I'm thirty or thirty-five when I'm fifty or fifty-five?

How much should I care about my lawn?

Should you continue being around people who make you feel inferior or dumb? What if they're really good people? What if you really are inferior or dumb?

Is there such a thing as real significance? Or just subjective significance?

Would I be happier if I had a better memory?

Am I going to end up religious eventually?

Does it matter what other people think is funny or good, or just what *I* think?

Is advertising writing worth devoting a career to?

Is it true that all writing for money is prostitution and inherently demoralizing? Or can you really find satisfaction if you just keep looking for it? Is one place just as bad as another? Is frustration something to be heeded or endured?

Should I already know all this stuff by now, like some people seem to?

Will I ever?

No comments: