Sunday, 21 July
Good Morning Jessicca…
Pull back the curtain and you will find a time when it was thought all serious people decided, for perpetuity, what they would be in life once they grew up. This was a miraculous period that followed completion of basic schooling. By now girls knew something of boys and boys knew something of girls and everyone had done their homework enough to know a little bit about everything. All things true would come to a glorious completion as we tied a bow with the love of our life, and assessed our aptitudes in order to choose a career that would help make love, family and security, all possible. Wendy and Peter Pan, shedding their childhood notions, meet at the wedding alter in their first step of commitment for two adults sharing all the twists, surprises and rewards offered in life.
A few people my age might actually describe their life in this manner but, for many of us, this was the mythology of a simpler time. There no longer is the sense of inevitable opportunity and domestic certainty young people once naively felt about their life before them. Today there are still enormous opportunities for smart people with the skills to keep pace with the rapidly evolving demands of this society. For those of us not exhibiting the capabilities profitable to the various enterprises of our time we are left to feel fortunate we remain standing on a treadmill whose pace seems ever increasing.
Actually, what is described here probably holds true for at least the past hundred years. There never really was an optimal time for people whose expectations exceeded their marketability, in an environment where the price of personal labor is as much governed by supply and demand as is any product offered on a retail shelf. Prior to the twentieth century you could opt out of the demands of civilization and choose to take your chances on a sprawling frontier west of the Mississippi. Pioneers lived a life of beauty and brutality, opportunity and uncertainty of matching expanse. The laws governing your actions were merciless in judgment, but you were free to call all the decisions you made to be entirely your own. Success in your venture could provide magnificent reward. Losing out to the elements would leave you only with the pride of having died free. Your story might be one passed down through the generations if only they first stumble upon your bones.
The degree of our desire determines the intensity of our ambition. The more we want from our life, the greater the mountain and steeper the slope that first must be scaled. Hard work and devotion to one’s calling is no guarantee for ultimate success but personal effort and sacrifice is as fundamental to achievement as purchasing a ticket is to winning the lottery. This seems an obvious truth if your wish is to own a grand home on a hill. It may be no less true, though, if what you seek is spiritual in intensity. The difference may lie only in the path of applied effort.
Life is a wellspring in seeming defiance of nature’s laws, an expression of high improbability. You and I are free to pursue whatever fancies may enter our mind. It is well for us, though, to retain always the healthiest of perspectives and celebrate each day the extraordinary nature of our own conscious existence. The fact that you presently are is all that you have to safely take for granted. Anything more has the ethereal substance of personal wish.