I want to say that I would never get a tattoo because it’s tacky but really, I’m afraid of commitments that involve eternity. We see that two people fall in love and wither away once deeper factors begin to join the ruse of forever, “I do”. Our parents grew up outside of the digital realm, which limited their personal encounters to their small towns. They automatically shared a large common base with everyone they met. With the omnipresence of the Internet today, we are given unlimited choice for companions paired with more tolerance for divorce than our predecessors. We marry outside of our ethnicity, religion, city and even lifestyle. We assume that by fine-tuning our needs, we can perfect our decisions. However, several studies have formulated the Paradox of Choice: the more options there are, the less likely you are to be satisfied because your decisions are subject to comparison.
The explosion of options has made men and women only more uncertain of their decisions, in all aspects. Regret tarnishes what is good. Perfection is complicated and, ironically, leaves a lot of room for the inevitable mistake.
Freedom of choice has been an integral aspect of our individualistic society. And although some choice is good, what America offers its society now—as a consumer, as a student, as a parent, as a person—is confusion. Something basic like milk has nine different options at the grocery store. If I want to “see what’s out there”, nothing is keeping me from joining a plethora of dating sites or browsing a social network.
The excess of choice is conditioning us to search for contrived happiness, crippling our outlook on trueness. In the pursuit of perfection, we distort necessity. I have high expectations for a pair of shoes; the level for a spouse runs even further. It is too easy to imagine the attractiveness of the options you reject. Just the digital presence of someone seemingly perfect can diminish your current state of happiness.
Even if you choose the perfect person, you allow your self-induced opportunity cost to gnaw away at your decision. This is still not to say that we don’t limit ourselves when choosing a partner. Whether you have self-imposed or parentally mandated filters, your mind still acknowledges your constant freedom of choice. Unfortunately, equating freedom with choice has not facilitated our social well-being. We are too prone to feeling defeated by our wants, especially if we barely know what it is.
To keep myself from feeling derailed, I’ve spent the past few years simplifying my general “wants”. Now that I’m 22 and have acknowledged the word “marriage”, all I feel is uncertainty for the stability in the future of my generation.