But death and taxes
I'm sitting in my favourite 'Coffice' in Reykjavik called Vinyl. Our internet at home has been off for a week now (the bandwidth bandit is still at large) and our landlord is taking his time sorting it out. We can only wait in hope that we will one day be able to browse freely in the comfort of our home again. Until connectivity is restored our household has been making little pilgrimages to various long-sitting-on-small-purchase cafes around the city.
There are more than 80 cafes in the small city of Reykjavik, and I've been to almost all of them. Picking a Coffice is just the first of many difficult decisions that we, the spoiled youth, have to make in a day. It's got me thinking about paradox of choice.
- CERTAINTY -
Last year I started spending more time with my Grandfather, Fred. He is 86, fit and busy and lives in his home with 'Bindi' the Fox Terrier in the Blue Mountains, a little bit over an hour from Sydney, Australia. His influence on my life has always been quite strong and he is my biggest role model. Our relationship is best described as mates with a hint of nurturing and authority when I need it. When his last living sibling, my great-uncle Herb passed away I was suddenly registering the fact that Fred's earthly presence would also have an end date. I have since prioritised learning about my Grandfather's life, excited to hear more of his lively recall.
I started to realise, Fred has lived his life with a great deal of certainty. He was certain that his responsibilities would multiply when his older brothers went to war. He was certain when he followed his fathers' advice to get "a government job", giving him a long and stable career. He was most certain of all when he spotted my Grandmother, Joan, in her appropriately long swimwear over 60 years ago. He has made many decisions in his life - big ones - with a degree of certainty that I'm not sure I can relate to.
In contrast, I have noticed that over the last few years many of my friends (mid-twenty-somethings) are changing their course in search of a nondescript higher happiness. I have caught up with friends who have just quit/broken-up/moved/bought/started lessons in/studied something slightly left of field. In my work as a creative/brand consultant I have had countless coffees with people who "just want a quick logo" for their start-up. 'Start-up' usually refers to a few dot points in the 'notes' app on their phone. They want a ticket out of the Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 cult that they see as an inevitable next step, having recently graduated from a twice-changed, travel-deferred uni degree.
This un-certainty drives fellow Gen Y'ers to start searching for a golden ticket. A way out of the stability-focused path of their Baby-boomer parents. Would our lack of available 'options' offer a blissful simplicity?
If we lived in a world driven by convention, necessity, and sensible thinking, would we be happier?
We ponder this question further in our article The Simple Life, a story about Allexa and Mike.