Under the Weather

Side effects.

We’ve all had ’em. You start a new drug or maybe a diet and BAM! – all of a sudden you’re dizzy or hungry or tired or have the ability to levitate. Ok, I haven’t seen any evidence of the last one but I don’t want to limit the discussion.

The problem is, no one really likes side effects (although if the levitation is available, I’m interested). They’re the unexpected, and generally unwanted, elements that come from trying to get something you DO want. You want to get rid of migraines and you end up with insomnia. Or you want to be able to meet a nice a guy who actually cares about you – BAM! – side effects.

See there are side effects to more than just medications. Side effects are EVERYWHERE. All the things we do and decisions we make come with these stupid side effects. You could get all deep and metaphorical and call them the building blocks of destiny or some crap, but in the end the definition from above still stands: they’re the unexpected, and generally unwanted elements that come from trying to get something you do want.

Now, I don’t have statistics on this, but I suspect a lot of what we do is deal with the side effects that come from our decisions. So the desire to drink heavily and start smoking may, for example, be side effects of a tough decision. Not talking to your friends and ignoring school could be considered destructive tendencies in the aftermath of a big change in your life. The problem with this is that these side effects have their own side effects, and I’m not just talking about the nausea after a night of hard alcoholism. It’s a chain reaction that leads to, well, the rest of your life. Pardon the almost unbearable poetry of it but don’t the side effects kind of become your life? They build all the potential options of your future. The chances you find to meet new guys; the people you spend time with who become new or better friends; the ideas you have that change your goals and, ultimately, your destiny.

Now, in case anyone actually reads this let me say 1. that these examples are examples and by no means should we freak out and assume that I have started smoking or am dropping out of school.
Also b. I wrote this in poor form: sick and feeling slightly delirious. And, Π. I just got into destiny in a blog post so really – take it all with a grain of sand.

But I think what I’m saying is that side effects, unwanted or not, are really very important.

Without side effects we’d just have what we want – BAM! – without any of the trouble or consequences it took to get there. Side effects are the things that make you look at what you thought you wanted and consider its value. The sadness, anger, sleeplessness, and inappropriate buying of shoes: are they all worth the decision you made? Or would you have bought expensive shoes anyway? Will your side effects lead you to something better or just regrets? Won’t it make the outcome sweeter because it was hard to get there?

I think all we can do is be honest – with ourselves and each other – and deal with those side effects as they come. And, uh, they do tend to make life pretty interesting, don’t they?