I've been thinking about courage, and one thing I might have failed to do is be honest with myself about what I want. Flinching away from frank discussions of wants is easy because they chain into each other so much. Maybe I'd want to live in a big city like Seattle (although, certainly not, given what I've seen lately), just think of all the things I could do. It's expensive, and so are a few of those things. And I can go on a nice walk and enjoy nature where I am, much further out from a city. All the nice things I'd like to do right now are free or quite cheap.

I'd get all these fancy things and every indulgence would open up new indulgences. I'm aware of this, and how little it seems to benefit people, and used to tell people this, when asked. I lived in Los Angeles for years without a car specifically because you lose L.A. when you spend hours in traffic, and the bear trap of it all is that there's always something worth going to. If you give yourself the tools, you'll spend 8 more hours a week at weird places you might enjoy (but don't know anyone), probably another 8 in traffic, and spend maybe a thousand extra dollars a month, or much more.

Maybe you'll start drinking more regularly. Most of those people seemed to. Driving drunk seemed so common I'm convinced the terrible traffic is a public safety measure, making sure drivers can't get up to a dangerous speed.

I found it easy enough to barely have time to devote my mind to strange ideas. The whole system demands so much out of you, and gives so little in return. I remember the first time I felt content but like my life ultimately wasn't going anywhere or doing anything. It's a strange thing, to notice an emergency your emotions insist isn't real.

It's no coincidence that many religions provide a relatively specific script for lives. It's not clear that young, talented people who drop into mega-cities have any idea of how to be a whole person within them. I remember calling a matchmaking service, when I was 18 years old, saying I've got a good stable professional job, and I wanted to settle down and get married, but honestly didn't know how. They were very polite, and told me they don't know what to do with younger clients, and wouldn't take my business. I was desperate and rejected even by the people there to help those rejected by everyone else.

I'm not sure I learned how to be a whole person worthy of the commitment I wanted before I was 25. In this sense, I see the value in waiting to get married. But it stinks to have something you've known since you were young that was what your heart was built for and not be ready for it.

This is all to say: we need courage to be honest about what we want. If that's what other people want, then use that as your guide. But take the time to imagine yourself living those moments. And if you find yourself wanting something nobody else seems to want, don't pretend you ought to wait. Many smart people my age make fun of me for wanting a family. I've had girlfriends, older than me, that made fun of me for it, as though the clock wasn't running out for them too. If you don't want a family, fine. But if you do, use your courage, and seek it out, and put in the work. I'm trying to use more courage here too, and if that means Zoom dates... shudder then I'm going on Zoom dates.