30 January 2006

The end of ambivalence?

When I was making New Year's resolutions this year, I decided that the only thing I really needed to resolve was to stop being so ambivalent about everything. Either I commit to my job, with all its benefits and shortcomings, or I look for a new one. Do I want to be married? Well then, I need to be seriously looking for a long-term relationship. Finish writing the book I started three years ago, or give it up. Don't start on five other projects. If I want to buy a place to live, I should decide whether I want to stay in Manhattan with its conveniences and proximity to everything, and pay more for less space, or move out to Brooklyn and have a long commute, but also a bedroom with a door.

Those are just the big things. But just about every decision I make, large or small, requires endless debate and mental pro-and-con lists, when really, it doesn't matter that much whether I go with the chocolate or the vanilla.

The thing is, I can't even commit to whether I want to stop being ambivalent. There's a certain moral superiority that comes with knowing I can see more than one side of an issue. Isn't that what being liberal is about?

Of course, this wishy-washiness isn't doing our political liberals any good. The Republicans learned a long time ago that choosing a message and sticking to it relentlessly was the way to win. The Democrats still can't commit to that strategy, and while their attention to nuance might make me like them better as people, what good is it to be right if you're not in power?

All this to say: my offer on the apartment was accepted. If all goes well with the mortgage and the co-op board (for an excellent explanation of what co-ops are, see Pedestrian Rage's posts on the subject), I should be moving in two months.

I have some doubts. Will I be able to resell it in a few years at a higher price? Is buying a studio confirming that I will be single forever? (Though it is worth pointing out that the current owners of these 400 sq. ft. are a couple, and from the pictures they have around the apartment, they look pretty happy.)

But I'm not thinking there is something better out there. I've seen a lot of places; I know that there isn't, for the price I can afford.

I'm not questioning my decision to remain on the Upper West Side instead of moving out to Brooklyn, with its hot-and-cold running bedrooms. I like the neighborhood, it's safe, it's convenient, and I can always move later if I want to.

Generalizing from one successful commitment is probably not wise, but I already feel better about my ambivalence. Maybe, when something is right, you just know it, and feeling ambivalent about something is an indication that it's not. I think that now.

But then, I might change my mind.


Blogger Pedestrian Rage said...

Thanks for the props, dude.

1. What is winning? That's the thing about the Republicans, is that they've made winning seem even dirtier than it was to begin with. "The problem with the rat race is, even if you win you're still a rat." What does it mean to win, anyway?

2. I say, Embrace the ambivalence. Can you imagine how 2D your life would be without it? Goals are reasonable, but count on having passion for blessedly few things and not for everything. I'll bet if you counted all the things you're not ambivalent about (your friendships with me and Stunts, for instance), you'd reach a high number.

3. Building equity in a real estate property you own, no matter what the size, is always worthwhile. Always. If you can manage to pay more each month than required in the beginning, that's good because it'll knock down your principal, which means you own it faster. Later on in the loan, it doesn't matter so much because it's almost all principal anyway.

4. I am so excited about your new apartment! First of all, we've got to set you up with some sweet change of address cards, and then, you know, there are correspondence cards with the return address and everything. Oooooh, new plates. That's always exciting. Too bad the correspondence card sale ends tomorrow (100 cards for $180!!!) -- you don't want to order before you close because that'd be bad luck. And you are so full of good luck right now.


11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear your pain. I'm always on the lookout for when I feel emotionally good about something. At school, my personality type was described as being a "utility maximizer", i.e. I want everything to be perfect. Right now, my job and the whole Italy thing (sexy as PR would describe it) isn't there. Maybe thats why I am in such a grouchy and un-energized mood. ---RK

5:02 PM  
Blogger Pedestrian Rage said...

Anonymous a/k/a R: Lose the grouch. And btw, fuck you for being transferred to fucking Milan.

Love, PR

12:38 AM  

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