Imagine this scenario. You are young and eager to experience all life has to offer. At a restaurant, you order a dessert you have never encountered before—tiramisu. It is pleasant, so, later, at a different restaurant you order the tiramisu again. It is even better than the first time.
Soon, you are on a quest to experience the best tiramisu. You sample it often and find some versions better than others. Inevitably, you have a peak tiramisu experience. The best. After that ultimate, all subsequent tiramisus disappoint.
This isn’t just a dessert problem. This same pattern can happen any time you search for the best—best cheeseburger, best novel, best movie, best whatever.
I have a crack-pot theory that the reason so many old people are grouchy is that they are coping with the disappointment that comes from living in the shadow of a lifetime of peak experiences. Today is disappointing because it is filled with so many examples of things that are not as good as some previous peak.
Fortunately, there is something you can do to protect yourself from this gloomy fate.
Continuing to quest for superior tiramisu is bound to lead to unhappiness. A better strategy is to recognize how lucky you have been to experience such top-quality tiramisu so early. Declare yourself a winner and then substitute a new quest. Focus on finding really amazing Bananas Foster, Baked Alaska, or Cheesecake.
This same approach works in other areas. Instead of perpetually searching for a better apartment, vacation destination, job, spouse, or home planet, just declare yourself a winner and settle down. With the time and energy that you save you’ll be free to look for superior scotch, chocolate, or pickled onions.
Pittsburgh, August 22, 2018
WARNING: My blogs are intended for entertainment purposes. If you follow my advice and your life gets all screwed up, I don’t take any responsibility for the mess. And I don’t want to hear your complaints.