I was thinking about the crazy tangle of string our lives resemble. They're not the clean, arrow-straight trajectories from place to place, or event to event, we like to imagine. They are, in fact, more like a labyrinth that appears to wind back on itself indefinitely, until we finally shuffle off our mortal coil. Even then, I'm guessing the pressure of uncompleted tasks will loom right until the end. And if we want to take a broader bird's eye view of human life where individuals are part of a greater whole, our descendants will pick up the slack and keep going.
Two brothers named John-Roger and Peter Macmillan wrote a book named 'You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought.' They remind readers that we aren't ever finished with ourselves, and never will be. 'We've yet to meet a person who has said for any length of time, "I'm done."'
Wherever we find ourselves is the goal of some former moment in our lives. I love the end of hiking trails, where there is always something like a lookout with a lovely kiosk on a high peak with an amazing view. Yet in life as a whole, when we arrive, there is always more path snaking away in the distance which we didn't notice before. The Macmillan brothers have a blunt way of reminding us to enjoy the journey and stop pining for the destination. 'If you don't have fun getting there, you probably won't have much fun there. Your fun muscles will have atrophied.'
Like many others, I've suffered from the impatience of wanting tasks and projects to be finished. Done and dusted, ticked off, ready to put out into the world for feedback. Whether it's writing a book, article or assignment, decorating a room, driving to a destination or cleaning the kitchen after tea, my favourite stage of the proceedings is 'Over and Done With'. An unfinished feeling hanging over my head isn't one I've ever been fond of. It's sticky, unsettling, and hard to shake off. But what if the very nature of life means we can never completely shake it off?
I'm trying to make peace with this sense of unease. And I've decided part of the benefit of keeping this blog is that it's never finished. Sure, any number of individual posts get churned out, but there are always new ideas to write, fresh books to read, photos to snap and ideas to record. I've no idea what future posts and updates are going to look like. And I guess that's how it should be. Maybe it's good for us to have some open-ended hobby to remind us that life may be more of a curly scramble with no clear end in sight, than a clearly marked hiking trail.
I really like a growing-older meme I once saw. 'They tell me I'm over the hill, but I can't remember ever being at the top.' I'm taking this specific reflection as a pause along the way to peer out at the view I can see, and stop and reflect. Then I'll be off again with my book chat, lists and challenges.
How about you? What are you in the middle of, for I know there is always something.
(This might be a good moment to mention the new Follow.It button in my toolbar, in case you're inclined to wish for notifications of this blog's updates in your emails. The old system bit the dust, and we bloggers were forced to search for something new to enable followers to keep being informed when we share new content. Hence, the delightfully straightforward Follow.It. You won't miss a post, and on the other hand, you won't receive any non-post related material. Win win.)