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Deal-Breakers

Direction vs. Destination

By Taylor ChurchPublished 5 years ago 4 min read

I have three little torn pieces of paper, one the backside of a receipt, the other two sticky notes that have long abandoned their stick with scrawled letters on them. One has four unrelated words on it, a list of terms I liked, and wanted to stick into a piece of writing. One has one line with two opposing ideas. And the other has bullet points and ideas, and question marks near the ideas that are bad but that I refuse to cross out because they were nonetheless, my ideas. The question mark is only for my ego; that can take on life forms, and fancies itself to be a genius and a saint of words.

I have been grappling with this thought for a few weeks now, and have been frustrated with myself for not putting it on paper. People always assume a writer’s lack of production or general creative standstill is a result of the fabled writer’s block. I’m honestly not sure what that term even means. Is my mind supposed to be completely blocked out, overcome and eclipsed by some undefinable blankness from time to time? Sure there is laziness and procrastination just like any craft, but more often than not it is internal construction. Robert Towne said it all too well, “part of the process of writing is not so much to explain your vision, but to discover it. I think that’s what you do when you write: You find out what you think.” So, more than anything I have been trying to find out what I think, or rather discover what truth I think is most important.

For so many untenable reasons, us humans tend to hold tightly to our own convictions, and personal creeds without considering their validity, their importance, and their potential for silliness, pride, and heartache. Religious and political beliefs aside (though those too should be deeply considered), I want to talk about what we call deal-breakers. Deal-breakers are often used in describing breaking points, or lines of demarcation in relationships and atmospheres where the deal so to speak, is broken, the contract void, the breaks slammed upon. But deal-breakers aren't just for romantic relationships. They exist with friends, bosses, living situations, neighbors, school districts, etc. etc. forever and ever. I think most adults over a certain amount of years of navigating adulthood decide what is unlivable, unlovable, and ultimately undoable. But so often these self-imposed rules, these laws of likes and dislikes seem so arbitrary, so harsh, so unfounded in anything besides theory and insecurity.

Not to say we shouldn't have deal-breakers at all. I personally am not open to dating someone that is currently on death row. And I am also not open to dating someone that is a senior citizen at the time of this writing. Extreme deal-breakers usually make sense and have much more to do with logic than empirical practice. I’m talking about the small superficialities that we think are essential to our own taste, and of which the trajectory of our future happiness and success hinges. Consider the following “deal-breakers” I have heard men and women invoke:

  • “Being that short is a deal-breaker”
  • “Wearing that much makeup is honestly a deal-breaker”
  • “Living in Utah forever is seriously a deal-breaker”
  • “She only listens to country, that’s a deal-breaker”
  • “He used to hook up with my roommate”
  • “Used to drink..”
  • “Used to smoke weed…”
  • “Used to sleep around…”
  • “Used to…”
  • “Used to…”
  • “Used to…”

A few weeks ago a friend and I talked about deal-breakers at length in his kitchen until the birds outside reminded us that the sun was soon to rise. Of course we joked about things that bugged us, and things we didn't care for in the opposite sex, but our conclusion felt much more human than previous conversations I’ve had about the past, about love, and about building a future with someone. We posited that most people are either concerned with destination or direction. Destination being that final dream home you buy, that career you worked so hard for, that pension, that retirement, that putative end-of-the-road happy ending. Destinationalists as we will call them, focus on the now, the palpable, the evidence at hand, the means to an end. Those more concerned with direction tend to care less about the past, or what might make them or others seem safe and secure for the future, but the direction in which someone is heading. Directionalists can also have their flaws, their oversights and naivety, but I think ultimately as failed, tired, and deeply imperfect people ourselves, we should seek to be more attracted to trajectory, toward the direction of a human, than of a perceived destination.

No matter your belief in celestial worlds, religious karma, or philosophical leanings, the purpose of life should be centered around happiness and progress. One shouldn't abandon what they have for so long held to be personal deal-breakers, but one should at least stop and consider them, and what is truly important, and what will outlast the blaze of the sun.

“I want to live each day like this, birdlike and unassuming and fully gifted to this moment, free of regrets of yesterday or made up versions of tomorrow.” —Andrea Balt
dating

About the Creator

Taylor Church

Omnivorous reader, author of two books, maniacal maker of lists and nuanced notebooks.

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    Taylor ChurchWritten by Taylor Church

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