Mix, Match, and the Miasma of our Choices

How great would it be if we had Garanimals for adults? For those of you who don’t know, Garanimals is a marketing concept for children’s clothing that allows kids to match the tag in the clothing (marked with a tiger or panda or giraffe) and then the kids can assemble an outfit that matches. Tiger shirt goes with tiger pants goes with tiger sweater. No cross species dressing, if you please.

Not only do I envy those children for whom sartorial splendor is merely a matching tag away, but I covet the same for life choices. In my fantasies, I dream of a life where I could see categories of professions, relationships, lifestyles, and outfits that all fell neatly into place—guaranteed compatibility and social approval. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

And if you outgrew your tiger match up selection, you could slide into the leopard offerings and try them on for suitability. Ah, yes, I can hear you sighing with envy for my catalog-ready reality.

Sure, sure there’s much to be said about the lack of spontaneity and consumer-tested banality of a Garanimal life, but don’t you sometimes wish you could slip into the comfort of a path well trod? I do. Robert Frost’s antipodean words remind me of the promise and the cost of foregoing a Garanimal existence. How do we reconcile and make peace with ourselves in a life which appears to have no Garanimal parts?

Yes, there may be important elements of your daily existence which appear to be Garanimal-ish, but we know better, don’t we? Re-booters, by definition, are compelled to try something new, something different. For one reason or another, the standard formula by which we’ve been operating doesn’t work for us, and so, we wrestle with the dilemma presented by square pegs, round holes, and stellated Platonic solids. Don’t ask me to write out a geometric proof for my theorem because I can’t—that’s my right as a re-booter and the author of this post!

Which brings me to another point about not leading a Garanimal life: we often cannot fully explain why we’ve gone another direction. Inarticulate mumblings, a shrugging of shoulders, an anxiety filled sigh often substitute for rational clarifications as to our change in position. “I just don’t feel that way anymore.” “I don’t know why, I just know I have to do this.” “I made the wrong choice for the right reason but if I keep going the way I am, I’ll go nuts.”

Whether these are the answers we give ourselves or those close to us, they’re certain to provoke anxiety and frustration. My point is this: if you have reached a place in your life where you find yourself roaming the metaphorical halls for something more, something better, something different, anxiety and distress are normally the first things you run into! It’s to be expected! The fog of confusion is merely a precursor of clarity, free will, and choice. And anyone who derides your uncertainty is simply too terrified to ask themselves the same questions you are asking. Garanimals promise much, but mostly what they do is substitute someone else’s view for your own.

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3 Responses to “Mix, Match, and the Miasma of our Choices”

  1. Kaaren Robertson Says:

    Very beautifully said, Chrisanna, and so true. It is a jolt, for me, to realize as I do so often, that things are not what they seemed. And may not stay the way they seem now.

  2. jennifer digregorio Says:

    What if one’s fog remains a miasma?

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