Being an adult is hard.
When I was a kid everything was easier. Things were simple. Now I know this was largely because my family was middle class and white [which, in South Africa in particular, brings with it an unquestionable level of privilege]. I
was am also a boy, and being a male in society also brings with it a level of privilege which isn’t afforded to women.
But even putting aside those privileges, life is still much easier for a child. And I think I know why: children don’t have to make decisions.
Making decisions is the hard part of being an adult [and I imagine it gets even harder when you’re a parenting adult, because then your decisions affect your
minions offspring as well as yourself]. There’s a certain level of fear that comes about when decisions have to be made — mainly because the consequences of bad ones tend to be long-lasting.
When I got my first proper job [and by “proper” I mean one that paid decently] one of the first things I did was buy a car. That, in and of itself, is not a bad decision. Let me continue… It happened to be a second-hand Ford Focus 1.8l Turbo Diesel. Again, in and of itself, not a bad decision. As it turned out, the car broke down 5 times in 6 weeks, with one of those times being while I was in the Transkei for my brother’s wedding. It was a great car when it was running, but it was just very seldom running.
Long story short: I bought it from a dealership that, at the time, I didn’t know was unreliable. As a result, I suffered the consequences — not only did I get a dud vehicle at be left on the side of the road stranded on three different occasions, but I also took a R30 000 knock because I had to get rid of it for a big loss in order to get a new car.
Why am I bothering to tell you this story? Because I made a bad decision that cost me, figuratively and literally. And I made that decision because I didn’t have the right information.
Two weeks ago at the Queen Mary Avenue Church of Christ in Umbilo, Durban, preacher Brian Lister said something even more profound that usual:
The best leaders make the best decisions based on the best information.
When it came to the “Lame Camel”, as the Ford has since been known as, I didn’t have the best information. I didn’t research the dealership enough. I didn’t research turbo diesels well enough to ask the right questions. I just wanted a
nice sexy car [image…my perpetual reason for making bad decisions] and didn’t care enough to get the best information.
So, yeah, I guess adult-ing is hard… but so often I’ve made it harder for myself by making bad decisions; and I’ve made those bad decisions by getting bad information.
Lesson I’ve learnt: Get the best info to make the best decisions.
*gets off soapbox*