In Marilynne Robinson's novel Gilead, the protagonist tells a story about a cascading comedy of errors, to which he comments:
But in fact one lapse of judgment can quickly create a situation in which only foolish choices are possible.
It is maddening to be constrained by historical contingency everywhere you turn, but it seems increasingly to be the standard condition of adulthood. I can't restart anything from a clean room; systems in motion have to stay in motion. But I can do less and deliberate better. That's an aspiration for the year to come.