Episode 69 If This Then That (IFTT)

June 9, 2023

Good morning from New York City. What I’m thinking about this morning is the acronym I F T T which stands for if this, then that. I believe it originated as a computer programming rule back in the day, but it made its way into the zeitgeist.

I’m thinking about it because I had an interesting conversation with my friend Meg yesterday. We hadn’t spoken in a long time. Meg moved from Vermont to California some years ago with her husband, and we were talking about life and what’s been happening in California and the financial environment. And then of course we got around to family and I was asking about her kids and her husband and her parents.

I said, so how are your mom and dad doing? And she said, oh, funny, you should mention it. I was speaking with my brother the other day and he told me that I should front load the trip home because my dad is fading quickly. Somewhere in there, I said, how long ago did you move to California? She said, five years.  Surprise, I exclaimed five years  I can’t believe how long it’s been. I said to her, you must be glad that you didn’t put off the move because you were waiting for your parents to die. And she said, oh my gosh, no kidding. A lot of people are doing that. They’re putting things off because their parents are aging, and they think it’s better to wait. We were just marveling about how much life has happened in five years and how she’s taken many trips home and had nice visits with her family. And about how lucky she is to be able to front load the trip home and to be there for her mother and her father at their time of need right now. I guess that’s why I’m thinking about if this, then that acronym.

I also listened to an interview yesterday with a fascinating woman. Her name is Logan Ury. She’s a Harvard educated behavioral scientist-turned dating coach. I think she worked at Google at one point, and now she’s the director of Relationship Science at Hinge. Who knew this existed, right? Anyway, it was a far-reaching interview. It lasted two hours. I didn’t listen to the whole thing, but at some point early on the interviewer was asking her questions about the people who make excuses for not going on the dating sites. She saod, oh, I call them the hesitators. They are the people who think they need to lose weight before they date, or who think they need to get that next exciting job to have something interesting to talk about.

This just got me thinking again about the IFTT equation and to our tendency to feel that conditions need to be in a certain order. I think oftentimes we put things off or we over anticipate what can happen or what needs to happen for us to do the thing –  to move to the West Coast, to get out of our relationship, to find a new job –  and life is not linear. It’s not an if this, then that equation. Sometimes I think we use this type of thinking to externalize things too much.

So, where in your life might you be stuck in the I F T T  – the waiting for something to happen in order for you to make the decision or make the move ? Using the language of Logan Ury, where are you behaving like the hesitator? I recently mentioned a podcast called Wiser Than Me, with, Julia Louis Dreyfus. She interviewed Diane Von Furstenberg, and I would not normally have listened to that but one of my good friends, Sarah, said you really should listen to that interview. It’s great. And in fact there was a lot about her that I had forgotten, and there was lots of rich fodder in the interview. One thing really stood out for me towards the end of the interview was when Julia asked what are your biggest regrets?, and Diane Von Furstenberg responded Regrets? You only regret the things you don’t do.

That really got me thinking. It sort of sparked my curiosity. What is it that I don’t want to regret?

I’ll leave you with that until next time, from my heart to yours.

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