1. If you can’t talk about it, you’re not ready to have it
Sex. Marriage. Money. Whether or not your fat-shaming relative is really worth introducing to your child. Regardless of the circumstance, not being able to discuss a big decision is a bad sign.
I’m not talking about endlessly defending your partner to your family (interracial marriage has been legal for over 50 years, Nana). Boundary-pushing can only be tolerated so far, before you make like the Duchess of Sussex and stonewall the shit out of it.
I am, however, dubious as to whether a person can really make a serious (even life-altering) decision without at least having a conversation about it with their nearest and dearest. Take weddings for example: a marriage gives you tremendous privilege, while simultaneously making you extremely vulnerable. You may spend the rest of time with the love of your life, or you may end up financially exploited and abused with no legal means of divorce, depending on where you live and the means you have access to.
If you can’t honestly talk about your partner about a bloody wedding, how do you see them looking after you if you fall ill or having to make decisions about end-of-life care? Yeah. Exactly.
2. Don’t buy anything on sale that you would hesitate to pay the full price for
No, I’m not about to default to some tired livestock metaphor to explain to you that you should be discerning of who you let into your life. Human beings are complex and multi-faceted, and really, if the cow is being safe and having a good time of its own free will, the price of milk is something the cow gets to set for themselves. (Including whether or not it’s worth playing with a less than trustworthy milker).
Having said that, let’s not pretend that just because something costs little, there isn’t a lot to lose, everyone. Someone, somewhere, will pay the price in order for us to get stuff on the cheap. The environmental impact of excessive consumption has been well documented. And when we don’t even use half the things we buy during the sales season, all that work and resources it took to produce the thing would have gone to absolute waste.
As we are about to enter the special hell that are January sales and our wallets are collectively bracing for impact, let’s all take 60 seconds of our day and ponder whether or not something is worth the reduced price. If something is only valuable to you when it’s on sale, you’ve got to ask yourself why you put so little worth on the time, labor, and resources that went into making it. Would you be so comfortable if you were on the other end of that calculus?
3. Patience wins the race
It seems pretty obvious, yet this is something I struggle with all the time. I want to get things done, I want to get them over with now, and I’m really, really not good with slowing down for other people.
Yet, just like the other two points, it really does pay to go a bit slower and understand a situation before rushing head-first into something you may not be prepared for.
Is it difficult? Frustrating? Hell yes. Will we make mistakes and rush? I do it all the time. It’s not easy and it’s not pleasant, but at the end of the day, all we can really do is our best.
We can commit to having patience and empathy.
We can choose to support those who are less fortunate than us.
We can open ourselves up to dialogue and at least try to understand someone else’s point of view.
If you don’t take anything else away from his article, at least take this: Not being able to do something perfectly is not a reason to not try at all.