Should possibilities be worse to bear than certainties?
I’ve always been schooled in the ‘KKK’ method of difficult conversations. And before you freak out, no, I don’t mean that KKK. I mean the ‘kiss, kick, kiss’ action plan. So I was all prepared to write this letter to the universe outlining what I like, followed by what I dislike, followed again by what I like. The more I thought about it though, the more I realised that mostly what I was leaning toward was the dislike portion. Essentially I wanted to protest. I wanted to write a great big complaint letter to the universe outlining all of the things I was bitter and unhappy about.
But then I spoke to some friends, I overheard some stories at work, and I watched the news. The world is a big place and its people are constantly churning and experiencing; hearts are regularly being broken. There is an immensity that, when truly considered, makes my problems and gripes seem so insignificant as to not warrant any possible further thought.
It’s too easy to get caught up in the unfairness of it all. We want what we want and we paint a picture in our head. Reality though seems to always have other plans. What we get ends up being very different to all that we thought it would be. So we cry foul.
It hurts. Making plans, having dreams, telling yourself that you’re in control of your life, only to find out that in actuality there’s far more out of your power than there is within it. Don’t mistake me, I don’t believe that we’re merely bystanders to our own lives, or that we can be completely passive, or even that we stop planning. Because there’s fun and beauty in the planning and all of the dreaming. I just mean that there’s something to how life has other plans to the ones that we make, irrespective of how perfect and fitting we feel they are.
But ultimately, and not wanting to sound cliché, doesn’t everything turn out in the exact way that it’s supposed to? We want it to all be outlined. We’re taught to map it out, to have the five-year plan and to stick to it. Timeframes and deadlines become our norm, and what I wonder is if in our attempts to meet them we don’t compromise and settle just a little. Or if we don’t miss out on the here and now by being so caught up in timing. What if we do end up getting all that we want, just in a sequence that we could never have predicted?
None of that eliminates any pain or disappointment in closing our eyes and watching the image we had in our minds shatter and drift foggily away. But truth be told the universe isn’t to blame. We are. Society, the individuals that comprise it. We perpetuate these images of how things ought to be, or what people should have in order to be happy. We allow this sense of supreme control to grow. You have to know what it is you want and how you’re going to go about getting it. Ambition and determination is important, no debate, but so is flexibility and acceptance. True acceptance. Because sometimes, no matter how much we try, how hard we work, or how many tears we shed, we don’t get what we want.
I am cautious though, of not wanting to take this to the extreme and rest on my laurels using the excuse of it all being entirely out of my control. Because even out of the things that truly are, I still have a choice. My reaction, my attitude, the steps that I take following the shattering of those (sometimes long held) expectations, that’s what I can control.
So I don’t want to complain anymore. I don’t want to risk that bitterness that can grow and take over if fostered even momentarily. I don’t want to be miserable, I don’t. Who the hell does? Who’s making that choice? The universe is pretty wonderful, and it has so much to offer, even if it’s not getting everything that we want precisely as we want it. I don’t think disappointment diminishes overnight, or that you can just stop wanting whatever it is that you want. Maybe what it is we need to adjust is our sense of timing or adventure, our willingness to let life happen to us rather than us trying to happen to life. Because I look around and I realise that there seems to be far more to kiss the universe for than to kick it.
I have been thinking a lot lately, as I’m prone to do. Recently though, it’s been about this notion of home. Have I written about this before? Maybe I have. I’ve been contemplating the question of what it is that constitutes ‘home’. How many homes can a person rightfully have? Is home just where you lay your head at night? Or is home just always where you’re from, that place of origin?
I haven’t lived a lot of places, but I’ve visited many. And there’s often something about a place. Something that makes it feel comfortable and easy, and gives an automatic sense of belonging and rightness. Now as I look back at all my trips and adventures I realise that there are places I merely visited, and other places I felt as if I lived. Maybe it’s the people; it doesn’t take much to feel welcomed, just a warm smile or kind word. Perhaps it’s the place itself; the architecture, beauty, serenity or churn of activity. Or it could even be something about the adventure; a different place, a different culture, some new experience to entertain and fascinate. But there’s definitely something, there are those places that draw you in, that you feel you know so intimately that they could be an old and very beloved friend.
For me it’s always come somewhat instantaneously. I’ve fallen in love with a place straight away. When I moved away, I literally picked a place on a map and got on a plane and went. And I knew it was one of those places almost as soon as I arrived. I knew it during the cab ride to my hotel, and that knowledge and love and sense of home only increased in the coming days and years. It felt right. The city and its people enveloped me and I fell in love with every part of it. Which I guess is why leaving it broke my heart into many pieces, some of which remained behind.
While I was away I had two homes. Where I was and where I had come from. And I missed my original home and at times it was unbearably far; the distance was too great to span, even with the wonders of technology. And yet, in spite of that, there was something that had so captured me about this new place, had so enthralled me and won me over that it was becoming more of my home than anywhere else. I wanted to stay and soak it all up, maybe forever.
The thought though, is not about that place that I would return to in a heartbeat, or my love for actually being where I am, back ‘home’. It’s about what home is. I don’t think it’s family, though I love mine dearly. I don’t think it’s friends, because they can easily become scattered across the globe. I don’t think it’s a career, though sometimes you have to go far and wide to follow your dreams. I don’t think it’s the double storey, white picket fence, dog in the yard picture of our youth, as poetic as that appears. Maybe it’s a combination of all of those things, and more. Maybe it’s just a feeling. Maybe it’s that we all have many homes, and some people manage to find the one that fits perfectly enough to remain, while others keep looking, flitting from one to the next, hoping that this one can convince them to stay.