The Art of Decision-Making

In a New Yorker article titled The Art of Decision-Making, Joshua Rothman explores the paradox of how we can spend a lot of energy fretting over small decisions, while the big life decisions seem to come naturally.

We agonize over what to stream on Netflix, then let TV shows persuade us to move to New York

An interesting point he makes is how our aspirations can take a long time to come to fruition. How can we guide our actions if we don't even know if we'll still want the results by the time we get there?

To aspire […] is to judge one’s present-day self by the standards of a future self who doesn’t yet exist. But that can leave us like a spider plant putting down roots in the air, hoping for soil that may never arrive.

As the life we crave can change dramatically.

Before having children, you may enjoy clubbing, skydiving, and LSD; you might find fulfillment in careerism, travel, cooking, or CrossFit; you may simply relish your freedom to do what you want. Having children will deprive you of these joys. And yet, as a parent, you may not miss them. You may actually prefer changing diapers, wrangling onesies, and watching “Frozen.” These activities may sound like torture to the childless version of yourself, but the parental version may find them illuminated by love, and so redeemed. You may end up becoming a different person—a parent. The problem is that you can’t really know, in advance, what “being a parent” is like.