"I saw life branching out before me, like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet, and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantine and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black. One by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."
Sylvia Plath (as read by Dev on "Master of None")
So it's you have to choose one thing, and when you do, all of your other options are gone forever? Hardly! While the therapists at MyTherapist New York generally loved this new show, the finale left some of us feeling - eh. Let's try to discuss it in a way that won't ruin the ending for anyone, but suffice it to say, the finale comes across as you either do this or you do that, and you have to be completely sure or you're probably doing the wrong thing. And if you choose incorrectly, then you're just screwed and you have no future. What. The. Hell?!
Notice in that Plath quote above, she doesn't know which of the figs (plural) that she would choose. At least she realizes she can choose more than one fig! Here's the thing, folks - black and white thinking sets you up for this weird false dichotomy where you come up with two choices that you yourself invent, and you often come up with those two choices because you're already not at your best. Like- either I stay in this relationship, or I move to Japan. Either I am single and get to sleep around, or I "settle down", get married, have kids. If not, I will be too old. If I don't do this now, I'll never be able to do it. It's such a passive way to look at life, no? You are actually in more control than you think that you are, sometimes.
In therapy, we're looking for ways to figure out how you can have your fig and eat it to, so to speak. You can have Atila the lover, AND go to South America. You can have a husband AND be a famous poet. The problem is when you start to believe that there is a one-size-fits-all way of living your life- like okay, you want marriage? Here's what your marriage will look like, here is what your LIFE will look like from here on out. You want to be single? Here's what that looks like. You want to have children - future plotted until the day you die (or until the kids turn 18, whichever comes first). The trick is how to design the life you want to have based on things that are important to YOU (not what is important to the movies, religion, parents, Cosmo, Dr. Phil, Oprah, etc.). You want kids, but you want to travel first? Rad! There's a little thing called adoption, and there's no "biological clock" concerns. You want to settle down with someone, but afraid you might want sexual adventures down the road? Awesome! Rather than pretending to be monogamous from your very first date, how about relating to each other as sexual adults building a relationship foundation of openness and honesty, so if you find that monogamy/ sexual fidelity gets old down the road, then you can have open loving mature conversations about how you relationship might evolve. That's quite a bit different than just unilaterally choosing to have other sex partners when your partner isn't playing by a different set of rules.
You're only on the planet for so long. The pressure we put on ourselves from buying into these pre-made relationship visions- enough already! Rachel says in the show, "The time where we get to do crazy shit is winding down." So you don't get to pick up and move abroad when your 50? You have to have your own biological child by age 34 because Dr. Oz says so? You have to have a church wedding and be state sanctioned because you think your parents want it that way? The world is your fig! You can eat one now - and you're going to get hungry for another one - that's a healthy, normal, lovely part of the human experience!
MyTherapist New York offers psychotherapy, couples counseling, sex therapy and group counseling that is modern, effective and affordable. For more info, visit http://www.mytherapist.info