Guess what? It doesn’t matter all that much.
I’m wrong. A lot. Which I don’t set out to do — who doesn’t like being right?
I am the most wrong predicting what I want, and what I will want in the future. You know those famous quotes, the ones where someone says something that we now see as absurd, like “No one could ever want more than 64KB of computer memory,” or “We have achieved peace in our time?” That’s me, but on a much smaller, personal scale. Oh, and all the goddamn time.
For example, here’s me, before I left for NYU in the spring of 2000:
“Gosh, I’ll live next to the most amazing record store, video rental store and bookstore! What a time to be alive. To me, those are the most important things to have where I reside.”
Getting record-shamed by the clerks at Other Music was certainly formative, but none of those things remain a prerequisite to my happiness today, though I suppose I have my Kim’s Membership Card somewhere.
Or, here’s me, making a purchase in a vintage clothing store:
“This won’t make me itch and sweat like everything else I’ve ever bought from a vintage clothing store in the past!”
Here’s me dying to get hired for that editor job that I’d probably hate, there’s me thinking that I’ll never, ever get tired of living in a 450-foot, sixth-floor walkup, ad nauseum. So it’s gone: jobs I’ve gotten or not gotten, relationships, apartments. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t. I stayed in that apartment a long time. I stayed at NYU.
It’s not just me. Families have these stories in spades. The investments in ostrich farming, or law school, or gemology. People are full of bad ideas!
We float on strong currents beyond our control. This may seem like powerlessness, but it’s also a blessing. You can’t fuck things up as badly as you think you can! There’s too much happening outside of the tiny sliver of your existence for you to have an impact on it.
It can be difficult, in that 3am hour, sitting awake worrying about money, or the future or, in my case, replaying a socially awkward thing I did in 2006 that I just now remember, to have perspective on this fact. If you’re hard on yourself, these wrong predictions feel like mistakes or failures. Whether it’s relationships that didn’t work out or apartments left behind, they’re not. You chose and you learned. Maybe you had a dumb haircut or a terrible car or an even more terrible girlfriend in the process, but if you learned, it’s not a failure.
If being wrong is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Now, do you know anyone who wants to buy a CD tower?