"It shouldn't have been mutually exclusive," Kayl said.

"Doesn't everyone pick one or the other?"

"Maybe everyone you know. Maybe even everyone from your culture. But what does that really say?"

"You want to do something outside the culture, Kayl? That's not going to be easy."

"Just because something's difficult doesn't mean it shouldn't be attempted, or society would never change."

"So you're going to change the culture. All by yourself?"

"If it's worth changing, then yes. But I'm sure I'm not the only one."

"And you think it's worth changing in this case then Kayl?"

"Maybe," Kayl answered. "You never know what something will be like until you get there. And even then, it might still change from day to day."

"Seems like you're risking a lot of effort with little guaranteed gain," I said.

"It's okay. I'm comfortable with that. We all need something to do with our time, don't we. This could be mine. And if it doesn't work out, that's fine too."

"You're not afraid it will result in you not being able to get your old life back?"

"Maybe not," Kayl said. "Maybe it's only an illusion that we can return to the past anyway. Maybe there's no going back regardless of what I do."

"You're talking some potentially big changes to how you live," I said. "You're not worried about the risk?"

"There's also risk in standing still. But you're right, I do have to continually weigh the possible effects of everything we do."

"And you think it's worth it?"

"If everything works out the way I want, then it's definitely worth it. But I'm realistic enough to understand that probably won't happen."

"If even you don't think it will happen, then why do anything?"

"Not everything has to work out for things to be better. Maybe there would even be better things that I hadn't predicted."

"You sound very optimistic."

"Maybe I'm just tired of the way things are. Maybe this is a random project I'm pulling from thin air, to give myself some hope that I can feel better."

"So you're comfortable with the prospect that you may just be wasting your time?"

"Yes, I'm okay with that. But mainly I'm excited about the possibilities that we could have when compared to us doing nothing at all."

"And you only see positive possibilities?" I asked.

"Logically I know there are always unwanted possibilities, but how much time should I dwell on them? I'm not sure."

"If you don't plan for the worst-case scenario, you'll be lost if it happens."

"Yes, I realize planning for unwanted scenarios is self-protection," Kayl said. "But I also don't want to spend my entire life worrying."

"Can you tell the difference between planning and worrying?"

"I'm not sure," Kayl said. "Maybe if I spend more time dwelling on the beneficial possibilities, my life would be more pleasant, even if we never get to where we want to go."

"So you prefer the illusion in your head, even if it leads you to disaster in your future?"

"Maybe the question is how far into the future we're talking about. Would you rather spend 99% of your life in a positive state of mind, and 1% in unpleasant thoughts, or the reverse?"

"So you're saying as long as you're happy now, and for as long as possible, you're willing to sacrifice what happens at the end?"

"Well," Kayl said, "the future is pretty unpredictable. Maybe it will be good, maybe it will be bad. It's much easier to know whether the present is good or bad.

"Sounds like you're making excuses for short-term thinking, Kayl."

"Maybe I am, I don't know. Maybe we're back at the original question again. Short-term and long-term benefits don't have to be mutually exclusive."

"But they don't always match," I said.

"Do they? What if it is only the lazy thinkers who claim things are mutually exclusive, when in fact they're just refusing to admit they've given up trying to find a solution?"

"I'm sure there are some cases like that," I said, "but surely there are also legitimate cases where things don't work out as you want Kayl."

"Are you sure Rain? What if the only thing that exposes is our own lack of insight?"

"Well, take for example the fact that you can't have tea and no tea at the same time. It's just a logical impossibility."

"What if I had tea in one cup and no tea in another? Does that count?" Kayl smiled.

"That's just cheating." I threw a sugar packet at Kayl.

"Or what if we exist in different dimentions, and in one we had tea, and in the other we didn't?"

"That's really reaching Kayl. You're starting to sound ridiculous."

"What if the dimension were time," Kayl pushed on, "and we had tea in the morning and no tea in the afternoon?"

"Fine Kayl." I sighed, pushing my chair back. "I think I better get going. I'll call you tonight."

Truthfully I just wanted to go nurse my wounds before Kayl could bash me some more.

I felt a sugar packet hit me in the back, but kept walking without turning around.

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