Why I No Longer Make Predictions
I believed I could be protected from what lay ahead as long as I saw what was coming.
I think there’s about an 80 to 90 percent chance that I love you now.
’t complete until I’d done the final calculations to resolve any lingering questions.
I will still be friends with Lisa (i.e., still be on friendly terms with and see her at least twice a month) by the end of 2015: 35 percent.
I will sleep with John: 5 percent.
We will successfully diagnose the cause of Mom's memory loss: 20 percent.
This is not going to happen
Often I was correct in my guesses, but when I wasn’t, the poor performance bothered me little. It was the act of making predictions that I needed. Making a prediction focuses your attention; it says “look here and look out.” That spreadsheet served as road map for the future and a way to equip me for the emergencies ahead.
So, how does one create these emotional estimates?It's really kind of just bullshit,
Angela Chen is a science journalist and the author of Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex, which was named one of the best books of 2020 by NPR, Electric Literature, and Them. Her reporting and essays have also appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review, The Guardian, National Geographic, Paris Review, Lapham's Quarterly, and more.
Enter your email address to receive notifications for author Angela Chen
Confirmation link sent to your email to add you to notification list for author Angela Chen
More by this author
I learned to reevaluate the meaning of ‘normal’ in relationships, and also my habit of reflexively turning to data.
It can be easy to confuse real emotion with the shiny drama enfolding it. Sometimes grand gestures are signs of grand feeling—sometimes they’re not.
Remain forever hungry, or enjoy the tried-and-true? Sometimes, I learned, it’s okay to double down on the life you have.
More in this series
“What I look like” is not a static picture cut out and placed in different environments, but one that changes again and again.
Many of us subconsciously believe there is only so much good allotted to us—so, when something good happens, watch out.