paths

There’s a tension between believing that life is extremely predictable and also seeing that life, at least most of it, is actually quite mundane. Both may be true. As it may be the case that most of life is boring and then every so often something pops up that really throws you off your cadence. Like life can be hard. And heavy. Someone dies. You get fired. You lose your house. A pipe breaks. Shit happens. Shit really happens. Stuff you can in no way to predict. And if you try to, well then perhaps you spend your whole life preparing for something that may or may not happen in the future. What kind of life is that really? Does that even count as being alive? Or is that just going through the motions?

But then…then again I think about how in hindsight, when I look at my youngish career, what I see are decisions that I have made and the consequences of those decisions. Now that is a really simplistic model. Surely there is chaos not being captured in that model. But it’s there because or at least the thing I want to get out is that I feel like there are clear paths in life. Clear to the extent that you can see them and as you get older you actually have a pretty good rate of hitting a prediction as to what life becomes if you go down a particular both. Like it can be hard to predict at times — but also I feel so so easy. There are clear life paths. And you see your friends go on them. They leave you and enter their path. And boom. They have a family. Or boom they live abroad. Or boom they are unemployed. There are these clear paths. Some are scarier than others. At least for a time. But then they become not just a path but your path. And you wrap your identity in it.

I think the above is one way to look at the journeys of life. But not the only. Because I think that most people – most people just go on their paths. And they don’t really look that hard for others. They keep walking forward. But eventually it’s more of an escalator motion. Or flat escalator whatever you call those things. The ones you see in the airport. People are just along for the ride. They are predictable. This is not clearly bad. You can find meaning in other ways. Ways beyond choice. Choice may be an addiction. A drug. Freedom in the truest sense may not actually be better for you. Or healthier for you. This is a more is more philosophy. A symptom of “american values” is that more freedom is always more progress. But is that true for everyone? I mean I would like to say yes. I like freedom. I think it’s a good thing. For me, at least, I think.

But then again. Maybe not. Life would be easier with less choice at times. I probably would be in better shape if I had less choice as to what to eat. Not this unlimited freedom. Not the food courts. Who needs that? Really?

You see it with simpler cultures. With places with less choice. With fewer paths. With less optionality. Are they worse? In ways, yes. Surely yes. Would I move there tomorrow? Probably not. I say probably because I do see the appeal. Of that life.

Of really saying no to things. That may be the upstream value above all of this.

Why don’t I say no?

Probably fear guiding me. Insecurity. Discontent.

I see these paths. And I see them really clearly. And I focus on the mundane-ness of them. And I see myself reading that book that is life and getting bored. Not wanting to read further. Not wanting to engage in it.

Feels like not a way to live. To me.

But in that judgement of the paths of life perhaps …. perhaps I am missing the details. The grains. The breath of fresh air. The accent. The details in the fork. In the current.

Maybe that’s missing.

Why do I vacation in new places?

Why not go back to the same place over and over? Why not build something that way. Something with care. And finesse.

It’s because I’m afraid to commit. To settle. When will enough be enough? Why is enough not enough? Why do the paths need to get more complicated?

Is that where I find meaning?

With unlimited options? And optionality?

Feels like no.

Feels

Like

no.


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