Character In Everything — Forever

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What made you feel now was the time? I missed those things because I prioritized work over family.

A site for YA readers who are a little less Y and a bit more A.

Or a politician. But what I so loved about this installment of the Matt and Evan story is that you were always certain this time around. No matter what was going on, no matter the struggle, your belief that the two of you could face it and survive it was painted on your skin like your old tattoo. It was part of you, visible for everyone to see.

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What changed? When did you stop worrying about what everyone else thought? Maybe I just grew up?

Maybe it finally clicked that life is too short to worry about other people and their opinions. I spent a few years dealing with an endless stream of opinions and negative feedback and in the end — what did it matter? I also learned how to do that.

Forever . . .

But, when you all went to see the baby for the first time, and she called you grandpa, I felt the shift in your relationship in my soul. How meaningful was that moment for you? Was it as palpable for you experiencing it as it was for us on the page? She worked through a lot — losing her mom, having to shoulder a lot of the load with the younger kids.

She was mad as hell the way her life turned out, and who the hell am I to look down my nose at her? Made it to being real family. Spiderman versus cats. But in that moment, you rose above your own insecurities and you mourned for a woman you essentially replaced. Did you ever share all of that with Evan?

He knows. I got some of that. If I remember correctly, Matt was worried the world would give them shit for being an interracial couple. But to me, someone who has been the only person of color in the room and has felt like the odd woman out, I cannot tell you how it made my heart weep with joy. To know that this child whom you brought into your family was now the standard for what all your grandchildren would address you as was just one more thing that made me love you two more.

Do you even realize how much you made me cry in this book? I was a cop for a long time — I am unfortunately all too aware of what vile things people are capable of doing, including policemen. I watch the news with a different perspective.

BSC Friends Forever Special: Everything Changes

He made me a grandparent, you know? The honor goes to him as to what my name should be. Those kids follow him around like little ducklings. Tere says this is the end. Were you okay with her decision? Was this at your request, or does she just enjoy torturing us? I work, Evan drives the kids around to their activities, we hang out with our friends.

Oh, and sports. Lots of sports. Why do the Knicks suck so much? Letting the world inside your lives? Laugh again? The cartoon one? I just want to hang out with all of you, get to meet the wonderful Haight-Cerelli family and spend a little time in your crazy, because it is the thing dreams are made of. In others, the voices disagree, but one of the voices is so loud that it drowns out the others.

In both of those cases, The Decision is pretty easy. Something as important and permanent as The Decision requires conviction, and conviction requires a source. No source of conviction, no Decision. Fear and sex drive derive their conviction from the obvious—fear and sex. And an inertia-y person gets their conviction from the conviction of someone else.

Those sources are what allow people to make The Decision with relative ease. The brain hears these voices, but it discredits their conviction in each case because the certainty emerges from what the brain sees as an irrational place. For the brain, the only respectable source of conviction is sound evidence. Because the brain, for all its merits, does not do well in this situation, where the outcome is critical and evidence is hard to come by. Not much concrete evidence there. So you turn and look over at the breakup side of the beam.

You see a path, and a couple walking down it.

The marriage that might have been. What kind of marriage would that be, and what adventures lie down that road? Again, no real evidence. So you take a closer look at the one thing you have actual information about: your current relationship. You end up here:. Fucking great—now what? All relationships—the good ones and the bad ones—have a chart that looks like that, with things in all four of those zones: blue, green, yellow, and red. Because the stakes are so high, you become paranoid about making the wrong choice, and every time you think you might have an answer, you second-guess yourself.

The whole thing quickly becomes a mindfuck. And because the diagram and its four zones allow you to so effortlessly construct whatever convincing narrative you want to about your relationship and The Decision, you worry that anything that feels like conviction is just you falling for a narrative created by fear or ego or some other deep-down motivation.

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Unable to come to a trustworthy conclusion, the brain person becomes a Paralyzed Pre-Marriage Relationship Person. Until you die, until your partner dies, or until your partner breaks up with you. Maybe if you wait for a while, your fear of being single at 36 will overpower your dedication to rationality? For example:. An overly-broad, one-size-fits-all litmus test is a bad litmus test.

The Marriage Decision: Everything Forever or Nothing Ever Again

All these litmus tests tell you is that you A feel possessive, B feel attached, and C love the person. In most long relationships—good and bad—the people in them feel all three of these things. The only real information you learn with tests like these is that you are, in fact, in a relationship. That has never happened before in our species. Likewise, there are at least a few hundred million people in the world that match your sexual preference. Only one of them is the best possible person for you.

Step 1 Find out where your gut is leaning, using thought experiments. The gut is a real thing. And for our purposes here, your gut is the little kid in you who just wants one outcome more than the other. Gut people have good practice at communicating with their gut about important decisions. Exercises like these are best designed by you, for you, since only you know you.

But here are some ideas:. One kind of thought experiment creates a simulation in your head, which acts like a fishing fly, and our goal is to try to get the gut to be fooled by the simulation for a moment and jump at the bait, revealing what it really wants. Does that feel right?

Step 2 Figure out what your deal-breakers are. And yet, certain charts map out happy couples and others do not. Even though these charts show that there are many, many things we want from a relationship, our ability to be happy only depends on a small percentage of them. Our relationship chart is like a happiness puzzle, and the items in the green and yellow zones are the pieces. Your deal-breakers are the things that, if not part of your relationship, will guarantee your unhappiness. Your must-haves—and your must-not-haves.