Friday, February 11, 2011

Adaptation, and Kids

We're pretty good at adapting generally. That is, once a change is made. We're simultaneously bad at weighing the costs and benefits of a potential change. We generally discount benefits and over-emphasize potential drawbacks, which is part of our "availability bias"--mostly that we prefer what we already have (and know) to that which we don't know. We also like stuff that WE came up with more than stuff other people came up with, even if it is the same stuff. You know, like an idea to get sober. That's probably why an alcoholic must "hit rock bottom" first, before he or she makes a decision to stop drinking. That rock bottom place is the final and utter realization that drinking has in the past and currently hurts one's well-being, and that not-drinking is necessary, now--that, finally, short term pleasure gains have caught up with longer term implications. Like a job. Or a wife. Or a kid. Or a car. Or one's life (or limb).

Another thing to realize is that drinking a lot kills brain cells--a lot of brain cells. Just a thought, before the thoughts diminish.

But the point of this post is that mostly, we adapt and keep on living. We build tolerance to alcohol. Things happen to us that we didn't expect all the time, and our responses are largely to deal with those things. We might not like them--they may cause us emotional or physical pain--but we will adapt to them, and eventually, even come to look fondly, or value, that past occurrence. Now, that's not to say that, after falling into a three year binge-drinking streak, we'll adapt, move on, and realize that it was a great thing one day. I'm not talking about the events you can control.

For instance, I've been thinking about kids a fair bit lately, and whether to have them--or at least, whether to want to have them. There are a lot of conflated issues regarding children. On a whole, though, it is easy to over-estimate the harm that they'll bring as related to one's freedom and harder to bring about happy thoughts as related to children. But, talk to some people who decided not to have children in their lives, and I'm telling you, they almost always have a different story--almost.

Kids are not right for everyone, okay, I get it. But, considering the chance that I would feel more fulfilled in my life if I had kids eventually, perhaps they're worth having? Is that selfish? Sort of, but not really. It is my life, and my decision, to some degree. It is one of the controllable decisions in my life, anyway. Nothing like some real responsibility to put one's prioritization genes into action! What's important?

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