How can you be undecided?

How can you be undecided?

A friend I’ve only known for three months sent me a link to an inspiring YouTube video earlier today – Richard Dawkins: We Are Going to Die. The first chapter from Dawkins’ book “Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder”


“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly, those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds, it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”


The connection I felt while listening to the words and shared sentiment overwhelmed me, and I felt instantly happier since learning how a man lost his pregnant wife and children to a drunkard driving terrifically, as expressed in my previous post.


Twelve hours later, after having enjoyed a decent surf in the smooth Indian Ocean, and while relishing our usual decaff cappuccinos at Bike & Bean, I conveyed my appreciation to Martin. How life and the beauty this world has to offer inspires me, invigorates me and makes me want to celebrate every precious moment I am fortunate enough to experience. I tore my eyes from the ocean before us to look at Martin. “If only more of us could feel this way about life,” I said.


“I’ve always had this huge love and awe of life, of being alive, of the beauty of everything,” Martin said. “I lost that for a while, since my dad died, but I’ve been steadily regaining it. Many things have helped me along the way but you have had a big effect on me. Thank you for that!”


I noticed the tears welling in both his eyes. “I hope they’re happy tears.”


“Bittersweet. Happiness mixed with sadness. Like life I suppose.”


“As long as it’s more happy than sad.”


“I’ve been pretty open with my feelings so you know exactly where I stand – at the moment you are the person that I want to spend my time with. Understandably you’ve had to move on and be less open, so it’s hard for me to know what you’re thinking sometimes. Plus with our WhatsApp ‘incidents,’ it’s made me wish I could get to know and understand you more intimately to see how well we’d click long term.”


“We both should by now know and understand each other and our desires more. You’re still working through if you want children or not. That will take time… We clearly met at the wrong time.”


“I agree about the bad timing. It’s rare when I meet people that I have a great connection with so it’s hard to pass that up. For you, it’s easier because you know what you want. If I was certain I didn’t want children it would have been easier for me too.”


“It must be hard for you. I’ve never been more certain about anything in my life.”


“Being undecided is painful. So I’m working hard to understand what I want. I’m doing this for myself. It’s not something I can decide too quickly, but I can’t drag it out for ages either.”


I did not respond, I looked back at the waves, the smooth swells of the sea, ever moving, ever changing, gilded by the throbbing sun above. There was not another place I would have rather been right then. How could such a scene not be appreciated in all its immortality?


He released a sigh and then said: “Still, I can’t help but think that you’re going away to the UK for four months. So if I reach the conclusion that I want children I am going to let you know. How could I do otherwise? Maybe that is completely unrealistic and I should just move on entirely. There’s a bunch of questions I could ask you but won’t.”


I decided against pressing him for the questions; ignoring his last statement, I said: “I know it’s noncommittal, but you need to do what’s right for you. Who knows what will happen in my future or yours. We ended because we do not want the same things. Or you are unsure about wanting a family. And that’s okay. You’re seven months younger than me – a first for me, a first to have such a connection with someone younger than me.”


“The one thing I do know is that if I do want children I want it to be with someone I am completely in love with, and with someone I have enough time to get to know well. I have to want to be with the person for the rest of my life. As you know those people don’t come along often.”


“If you have to think about wanting children, at your age, then you clearly aren’t ready for it. You need to decide… How could you go through what we’ve gone through? Meeting someone you click with and then having it end before it’s even started because you are unsure and I am not. You said how rare it is for you to find someone you connect with. It’s rare for me too. You found it and now you’ve lost it. Isn’t that the most poignant lesson of all?”


“Of course I never want to lose something that’s rare again. That’s what makes it so painful. But I am thinking about it more than I’ve ever done before. I’ve found so many different opinions, and the books on the topic seem to be overly biased one way or another. I’ve certainly read many stories of people whose gut said no, had a birth control malfunction and absolutely love having children. And a few stories of people whose gut said yes and then regretted it. Maybe the gut feel is the biological drive to have children? Some people have it stronger than others. But not having it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the wrong option.”


“You should listen to your heart. That’s all that matters. No one else’s opinion. It’s what’s in your heart. Only you can decide what is best for you. And if you want to find the person to help you decide then you have to find someone on the same page as you, who’s also undecided.”


“Agreed. But for, now I am writing, reading and visualising potential futures so that I understand what I want more. My grief, depression and anxiety over the last two years haven’t been the best conditions for certainty and decision. It’s like trying to clear a fog so I can think clearly. I will get there. Only I can decide.”


“Isn’t it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be part of it?” ― Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder.


The above quote makes me think of creating another life with the person who means the world to me. My ultimate dream, maybe even fantasy. For me, it’s something that has to be experienced in this world and then doing everything within my power to provide the best life and love to my creation, alongside the person I desire to love.


To me it is simple and I can’t fathom how it cannot be as simple for anyone else. I’ve only ever met people who either want or don’t want. And both are fine. As long as they are sure and happy with their decision.

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