When she tells me what her future should look like, I often ask TBB if she could have predicted where she would be today at any time in the past.
The answer is no. Her life is a series of twists and turns and she just really can’t see far enough up the road to really predict the future.
It turns out that unpredictability seems to make people uncomfortable, so they tend to assume that things won’t change much from here on in their lives.
John Tierney has an fascinating article in the New York Times about this “End-Of-History” effect.
“Believing that we just reached the peak of our personal evolution makes us feel good,” Dr. Quoidbach said. “The ‘I wish that I knew then what I know now’ experience might give us a sense of satisfaction and meaning, whereas realizing how transient our preferences and values are might lead us to doubt every decision and generate anxiety.”
People don’t like the unknown, and that’s what’s coming, for each and every one of us. And change eaters, like out transpeople, tend to remind people that the walls they think are rock solid are really paper thin. If the wall between men and women doesn’t really exist, what about the wall between sickness and health, or between love and loss? How can we embrace transience without getting crazy?
The answer, of course, is to hold onto something more eternal than the ephemeral desires of today.
But that’s not easy.