I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the paths we take in life. None of us are on the same path, and none of us can really see the road ahead. It’s like driving with a blindfold on. Sure, you might be able to anticipate the occasional pothole or speed bump. You may even be able to correct for such things to a certain extent. But for the most part, we are along for the ride.
We cannot know what curves our paths will take. And then there are those sharp unexpected turns. Divorce. Death of a loved one. Loss of job. Health scares. Violence.
Not all sharp turns have to be negative, though. You might meet the girl of your dreams at the grocery store tomorrow. Or win the lottery. Or find out you’re finally pregnant after years of trying.
The thing I’m interested in is that exact moment when one’s life is forever changed. What is that like, and what is the catalyst? What energy exists in that moment? And why is it occurring right then, instead of 10 minutes or 10 days later? Could it somehow be altered? Is there a way to anticipate it?
When I had to tell my sister that our other sister had passed away, I remember thinking that I was about to hit her like a bumper that impacts with a pinball and sends it careening off in an entirely different direction. It had to be done, of course, but it’s an odd feeling, knowing that you’re about to effect someone to that extent.
There are also sharp turns that we bring upon ourselves, such as my decision to quit my job and go back to school. I had this image in my head of how everything was going to work out. Little did I know that I was making a huge mistake. That moment in time, that instant where I turned off the road into a dead end, is a moment that I wish I could take back.
How strange to think that each one of us could be heading for a sharp turn and it could happen at any second. I suddenly understand why people become agoraphobic. It’s not unreasonable to want to limit your opportunities for impending doom. But that also means you’ll limit your opportunities for impending joy.