On what scale should we measure “life-altering events”? Is there a standard to which we compare everything that happens in a given lifetime, and say, “this affected your life 43% more than that” or “your life has significantly changed a total of five times in the last eighteen months”? No, really. These aren’t rhetorical questions. I’m not attempting to blow your mind with a load of unanswerable, theoretical inquiries of which we’ll never see an end. I just want to know: when do we stop focusing on the trivial, cumbersome events of day-to-day life and when do we start referring to some alterations as drastic?
We think we have such a firm grasp of what lies ahead. Hell, we’ve seen it all, right? We’ve been through this and that. We’ve seen here and there. So many of us spend a stupid amount of time planing for the unknown. We fabricate these futures in our minds; mine are often scarce of specifics. Filled with generalizations. The ambiguity of the future we set forth for ourselves is the exact thing that, when shattered, catches us so off guard. The lack of detail is the very detail that surprises us every time there’s change.
Like I’ve said, I consider myself fairly “free-spirited,” taking little time to really hash out the details of exactly where I want to be, what I want to be doing, and who I want to be with. I’ve gripped some general facts about my personality, and that’s enough for me. Things like my love for good food, the sense of urgency I feel to travel, and my reliance on the handful of people I see being a part of my life for eternity. So how could life throw a wrench into my “plans” when they’re so ambiguous?
So I was right. I learned to be less focused on the details of my future so that life couldn’t take me by surprise. New bridges crossed and corners turned were mere excitement. The thrill of change. Less room for “life-altering” experiences, because I didn’t have a set way of life to begin with.
But I’ll warn you now: the more ambiguous you are with your plans, the harder it hits you when one of your general concepts about your future changes. You aren’t used to the radical ups and downs. You just know how to “go with the flow.”
And I can promise you, that “flow” ends. It always ends. So should we lay out the specifics of what we wish our future to hold, so that we are continually let down, and it makes the monsters seem not-so-big? Or do we numb ourselves to the tedious tussles of daily life, only to throw ourselves into shock when something unavoidable happens?
[Insert postscript here acknowledging lack of focus/direction/theme in above post.]