Saturday, September 02, 2006

Water Flowing Underground

I finished Until I Find You last night – the last fourth of the book was just torture to me, I could barely make myself read the last 20 pages. It was going so well, and I was getting so much out of it, but the ending just seemed so lame and predictable and disappointing. I do recommend the book for most of it, just skip the last section – trust me, you’ll feel better for it . . . unless you really need to see everything resolved, then you probably will finish it, but be forewarned . . .

Eric wrote an interesting comment to my post on Wednesday, which I’ve been mulling over a bit

You know that line, "I never imagined things would turn
out the way they did"? Well, I'm now wondering why we imagine so much. I don't
mean that in a defeatist way, but life changes so quickly with unforeseen
matters that this is something totally off our self radar.

It’s interesting, I’m not sure what I imagined my future would be like when I was younger. I just had a vague feeling that things would be much better than there were at that moment. All I knew was that being an adult, living on my own, had to feel better than being under the regime of my parents. Setting goals for yourself requires a bit of imagination though – you have to be confident that you have the fortitude to stick things through and the wisdom required to complete whatever it is that you start. You see other people who have done the same thing, or are doing the same thing that you want to do, and they don’t seem to be having any problems with it . . . so why should you?

And then real life sets in and throws all sorts of monkey wrenches into your plans. “Why is this going wrong?” you think. “How come I’m the one having problems?”

Now, everyone else may have had problems reaching their goals too, but they just don’t tell you about them and/or you don’t see them so you don’t know that they had to struggle with things too. We always assume that everyone else has an easy time, unless we are told otherwise. So when the normal bumps and setbacks happen, we feel really offended and hurt and alone. We feel like the freak in the crowd who can’t get their stuff together.

Changes and challenges are a part of life, but I wonder if our individualistic attitudes sort of resign us to feeling so disgruntled. (wait, did that statement make sense?)

We don’t lean on each other too much, so there is no sense of a shared struggle going on through life. Unless we have really great friends and/or significant others to share our feelings and outrages with, of course we are going to feel extremely frustrated at what life throws our way. Family may not be much of a help either, unless we have a really close, open relationship with them and can tell them about all of the stupid stuff that populates our daily lives.

Being connected to others – I think – helps us get over the disappointment of things not happening the way we think they should, because other people add the perspective that we may be sorely lacking.

Wait! I think I got off track somewhere – did I?

“I never imagined that things would turn out the way they did.”

For most of us, it is to be hoped that this is a positive statement – we have looked at the challenges we’ve had with an eye to the opportunities they’ve created and which have led us even closer to figuring out who we are and what we want. Sometimes those outcomes that we couldn’t imagine turn out to be better than the things that we actually thought we wanted. Sometimes it is hard for us to stomach some of the course changes, but if we have learned anything in this life, it is that if you plug on long enough, things can’t get too much worse.

OK, at this point I have no idea if I’m making sense so I’ll stop. I probably should start over, but then I probably wouldn’t have a post at all . . .

Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want; whatever you feel, be sure that is what you feel.
-- T.S. Eliot

It’s been a long busy week, and I’m hoping to get a bit of rest this weekend – I hope everyone else has a great holiday too . . .


Virginia Gal said...

Are you in my brain? This is what I feel like of seems like all around me everyone is breezing through school and I struggle. Everyone's life is perfect and I'm the only one who is miserable at this point. And yes no one wants to hear about your problems, the only one I really talk to is my mom and she is in India right now. Urgh.

If I lean on you, you can lean on's that??

Eric Grubbs said...

I will be straight-up here: a lot of air has been slowly trickling out of my balloon for the last few years. I used to imagine a lot but that's changed since I graduated college in late-'01. I really have a hard time fully believing something will happen and even if it does happen, I usually don't think it's that much of a big deal. Instead of thinking of life as a series of big victories and occasional big losses, I now think of life as a lot of small victories at the same time of small losses. The good thing is, we get to pick which side we want to focus more on.