I was struggling with possibility. Option A was familiar, known, predictable. Option B was uncertain and risky. Inside my head a voice wrenched with frustration cried, “I want to choose Option B, but it’s risky and I don’t know how it’s going to end!”
And then there was a quieter voice that answered. It said: Well guess what? You start things all the time not knowing how they are going to end.
And I realized it was true.
Here’s a list of things I’ve started, not knowing what would happen in the end:
- Every book I’ve read.
- Every movie I’ve watched.
- Law school.
- Moving to Boston.
- Moving back to California.
- That spring in France.
- That summer road trip from Santa Cruz to Charlotte.
- That summer in Georgia.
- That April in Spain and Morocco.
- Every first date.
- Every new friendship.
- Every job I started.
There’s a question of scale and probability, of course. But the perspective helped tremendously. Suddenly, not knowing how something was going to end was not reason enough to decline an invitation. I could evaluate the risk separately, consider the opportunity cost of each Option to the best of my ability, based on the data and knowledge available to me. I could ask better questions.
It’s ok if you don’t know how something is going to end. It’s how we live most of the time. And it is always just the beginning of an adventure.