On my lack of favorite things

In kindergarten, my favorite colors were red, pink, and purple. There was this poster hanging on the wall of my room back then, a row of cartoon crayons with their colors printed on them. The red, the pink, and the purple crayons were next to each other; and since I couldn’t choose just one, they were all my favorite.

I don’t have a favorite color anymore. I mean, I do if I have to–it’s indigo. Or maybe it’s deep purple, or pale blue. Picking just one of anything has never been easy for me. (Sorry, Sound of Music). For every choice, there are pros and there are cons; the weight of each point shifts and settles at the whim of countless factors, and I’m never quite sure which one should count for the most.

It’s the same feeling as trying to pick a parking spot in an empty lot. Like, it doesn’t matter which spot I choose–I just need to park. But at the same time, the sheer presence of so many options makes the act of choosing overwhelming. There is no wrong choice; I know that. But regardless, I can’t help wondering–what if there is? What if I can choose something that’s even a little bit better, a little bit more beautiful, a little bit more reasonable? And while there’s nothing wrong with loving excellence, I think I know that this is different.

Life is all about choices. We choose to be better, kinder, stronger; we choose the things that are important to us, whatever that means. So if that’s the case, then maybe the real issue is that right now, I don’t know what’s important. Or, maybe I just need to calm down–to practice apathy, as terrible as that sounds. Perhaps part of growing up is learning to understand which decisions count, and with that comes learning when to settle for “good enough.” The same kind of deliberation that choosing a favorite food or song or scent might involve is so often spent on other things. And it’s not that foods and songs and scents aren’t important–they are. But when I was in high school, I spent a lot of time thinking about what my favorite song was because I wanted to choose one that embodied just the right cocktail of edginess and depth and artistry. I wanted the answer to “What’s your favorite song?” to be a reflection–or rather, a projection–of who I was.

And yeah, I know that not every choice needs to contribute to my identity. It’s okay to just park the car. It’s okay to mix Jimi Hendrix and One Direction. It’s okay to just be. I know this. But the part of my brain that refuses to cultivate apathy–to accept “good enough”–may never actually get that. And I don’t want to say that’s okay, because that’s not quite true; but I don’t want to say it’s not, because that’s not quite true either. The actual point, I think, is that I am not the point–that in perspective of the 6,093 feet of the Grand Canyon or the 332.5 million cubic miles of seawater or the 7 billion and counting other human beings on this planet, my favorite color means pretty much nothing. It’s okay to turn the focus back out–to worry less about who I seem to be, and more about how the person I currently am can help some tiny fraction of those seven billion and counting see the sweetness of another trip around the Sun. The rest, I think, will work itself out.


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