Somewhere deep down there is a longing in us to arrange all our affairs in life once and for all – and live the rest of our lives in perfection. As we grow older we realize that this is not really possible, but the image often persists somehow.
I call this the Gift-wrap fallacy. It is the image of life neatly gift-wrapped with a ribbon around it, and placed on a table for all times to come.
Of course it never works like that. The wrapper gets torn up, the ribbon is thrown aside, the gift gets used.
The same thing happens in other cases too. Take the economy. While it is a noble image that one day the economy will be balanced to such an extent that we will have no more recession, or inflation, or poverty, the reality is that recessions happen – and pass; business cycles come – and go. Nothings stays the same forever, but change does not herald doom every time – it is simply the way the world works.
The world is inherently messy. There are too many externalities, too many factors we do not control, too much of the unexpected. That gift sitting prettily wrapped on the table is not likely to survive. Far better to open it up and enjoy it for what it’s worth.