Monday, December 17, 2012

Destination and Success

Life is not tidy. All the loose strings and little bits of it never quite fit into our pockets to be carried about as we would wish. As much as we try to contain and force it to conform to our own imagined carefully laid plans, it always has a way of spilling over, both onto ourselves and those we share it with each day. That is both the beauty and bane of it all.

I like it when my body wakes me up when it has rested enough. Such is the case this morning on Monday, my day off from work. I went to bed a bit later than usual after an evening indulging myself watching an amazing series that I discovered lately. I am not one prone to sit and watch things, be they movies or television shows, but once in a great while a story and its characters can capture my attention, in the manner that books always have, and hold me enthralled and still, even if but for a while. I awoke after a restful sleep, though filled with unusual dreams of friends from school and growing up, and set about to make my day.

With the simple, pleasurable, soothing task of coffee brewing started my mind formulated a picture answer to a word problem I had been pondering on for quite some time, even though I had not quite articulated it to myself. Isn't that strange how some loose ends tie themselves up, on their own, when we least expect it. I at least now have a mental picture to help me carry about something I had been puzzling over.

I tend to prefer order over chaos. Even as a small child, I have always occupied myself with putting things in patterns that appeal to me and help set my mind at ease. This may possibly be some latent OCD traits that I exhibit, or a compulsion to control the things I can while life whirls madly around me, but for me, I find a great measure of satisfaction in arranging anything into a structure, organization and pattern that helps me understand and visually perceive what is there. It is not some rigid habit that forces me to delay or avoid other important things, but rather a "setting right" the objects, ideas, thoughts, emotions and words that make up the inventory of my life. When I step back from a bout of work, I can see myself imprinted there and for whatever reason, I feel better. Such is the case with this.

When I imagine my life, that long line of successive days, what feels correct or right to me, is a long, smooth arc, carefully penned and unmarred, stretching out and up to the eventual pinnacle of success and completion. That is how it is "supposed" to be in my mind's eye. I think this has always been the case. Decisions, choices and effort linked together into a successive brush stroke that ends perfectly when my time on this earth is done.

Life, at least for me, has not been lived so.

Our lives are not a set of beautifully laid, gleaming steel tracks that carry us smoothly in one direction, from one origin to our final destination. When looking at others success and story, at times it may seem if they have found this elusive self measure of success in one long fell swoop. If it does to my eyes, it means I am not looking closely enough.

There is no one set direction for us to embark upon to find our way. The points on a compass are infinite, especially seeing as we operate and live in so many dimensions beyond what a simple map may show us with its flat and linear topography. This is what makes life so amazing and rich. There are literally no end to the choices and actions we can take. We are and become what me make of ourselves. That thought is liberating and magnificent while standing on the side of contentment and happiness and can also be so cruel and harsh when confronted after pain, hurt and disappointment. We are the navigators and plotters of our destinies, writ and lived out on the pages of our lives. There will be no one other to blame or cast fault with when we arrive at our current or final destination.

So...the picture answer my mind brought to me over the word puzzle of destiny, choice and fate?

My life is not a train.

My life is a Roomba.*

I move slowly and deliberately in my own way. I only get one day, or room at a time. I am usually tasked with simple things each day, though when added together, the prospects can seem daunting. The goal is basic. Cover the territory allocated in the prescribed amount of time before moving on to the next space or chapter in my journey.

I move erratically through space and time. The pattern I leave behind at times is a complete mystery to others, as well as myself, upon reflection and introspection. I bump into things a lot; people, places, things, ideas, lessons and emotions. Sometimes the first bump does not send me in another direction. At times I stay and keep encountering the same obstacle for a long while. Other days find me returning to explore the same ground again, wondering if I, or it, had changed. Most often, I find it has not, but not all things we bump into in life are static and stationary. Everything and everyone else is moving as well. I have a simple task to do and I have no reason to worry about any others till this one is done to completion. I follow my own internal compass and heart and continually strike out in many directions. That elusive, long clean arc to success is not meant to be mine and never will be. It is not what I was made for.

In the end, all the ground in my life that needs to be covered will be. Everything else can be left to the others. They have their own tasks as well.


*iRobot Roomba Demonstration

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