Predestination never enthused me as a concept: abdicating responsibility for the course of my life is anathema to the control that I would, even foolishly, like to believe that I can exert over my own destiny. Rather than being stuck in a preordained rut, I prefer to plow a different path, test my resolve to tread a track that is very often the equivalent of an uphill bushwhack. While perhaps I would be better served following the guidance of some wiser, immortal, celestial being, I am more keen to figure out things the hilariously hard way. The level of hilarity is, as always, subject to one’s perspective on the matter.
This is not to say that patterns do not emerge. I am/we are subject to the ebbs and flows of life’s energies, to everything there is a season, a time and a place exist for each endeavor. To be in tune with those currents is to begin to decipher the mysteries that underlay all existence. Opportunities present themselves in a fleeting manner: rarely do we have second chances to seize an option, to capitalize upon our good fortune. A refined intuition can help us better sense the import of these moments, but all too often, we only realize that we have missed the calling when our chance is in the rearview.
Depending on the day, I envision life in various pictorial representations, the better to attempt to make sense of the chaos. Sometimes it is a stormy sea, where I may be able to put in a stroke or two here or there, but largely I am drifting. In these days, I can see how people may believe themselves subject to the whim of Poseidon or Neptune or the god(dess) of choice. I am more prone to believe in randomness, the kind that is partially explicable by science, although using math that is far, far above my comprehension. On more encouraging days, my internal imagery presents as a blank canvas, an environment of limitless possibilities, where my strokes are of a different kind, free to apply at my leisure and according to my immediate predilections.
Yet some of the most formative moments of my life are embodied by the imagery of opening a lock, a specific sequence of events but for which I would not have arrived at the location at which I currently find myself. Just as rushing the input of a combination will frustrate the opening of the latch, attempting to force the outcome of a situation will rarely work in one’s favor.
Patience in allowing events to unfold, in waiting for the optimum moment to strike, is often an important virtue. Except when it is not. The ongoing tragicomedy of navigating life is such that even a momentary hesitation can forever forestall the intended or desired result. For instance: when you meet the person that is to be your paramour or your true love, restraining from speaking to them out of shyness or courtesy or otherwise lets them disappear into the ether, never to be your betrothed or your friend or the person with whom you share that one magical afternoon.
Understanding how to manage this balance is a life’s work and one of which mastery is impossible. There will always be regrets: the silly thing said, the pithy retort that came too late, the declaration of love that remained stuck in the recesses of one’s larynx. The tendency, understandable but not always correct, is to always capture the situation as it presents itself, the thinking being that it is better to try than torture oneself with the eternal question of what might have been. I subscribe to this philosophy: I have shed the self-consciousness that restrained me from fearing to fail. Now I only fear the failure to attempt.
So, now when I dream, I picture a series of padlocks, an infinite array of combinations to decode. Daunting as it is, I pull out my proverbial stethoscope and use a combination of observation and luck to entice the tumblers to fall into place with precision. Many remain stubbornly closed, but the fortuitous click that signals success is a sound descended from the heavens.