Firstly, thanks for embracing my Forest for The Trees post. I received some wonderful feedback on it and I am delighted that it resonated with many of you. Sometimes all it takes is to know that there is another human going through the same things or feeling the same emotions to lighten the load. If I have done that, even in a small way, then I’m happy.
Secondly, please forgive my absence of comments on some of your blogs. My Reader is having trouble updating and I am missing a lot of your blog posts. I’m going to have a crack at fixing the problem when I return from my next road trip which starts tonight. I m planning to return with some more great photos to share with you every Monday.
In the meantime, I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. Having reached middle age, I have a real sense that what has worked for me for the first forty something years of my life is not going to work for me for the next forty something. A very big part of Raising the Curtain is finding things, thoughts, methods and means that will work going forward.
One of my favorite quotes is from Soren Kierkegaard:
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
I am finding this quote has particular relevance at this middle stage of life.
Looking back, I can see that my discontent (for want of a better word) was building for the last three years. My thinking until recently was to just push through that discontent, but the personal price became too high. So I made some changes and will be making some more until recalibration has been achieved. Life has a way of throwing us pointers for our big decisions. The trick is to have your mind and heart open to recognise the signs and to appreciate them even if they point in a direction you haven’t before considered.
On my forest for the trees hike, I came across this sign:
At the time, finding it gave me comfort. It negated a lot of the variables that related to the walk we were taking – time, distance and energy required. It also confirmed we were on the right track.
It started me thinking (always dangerous!) as to whether it would be a good thing to have a similar sign pop up in our life’s journey so that we could be confident in living it and understanding it moving forward. Think about some scenarios:
- Waiting for that train or bus
- Waiting in that long queue, whether on the phone or in person
- Waiting for your mate or significant other to come into your life or commit, whether that’s soul made, spouse, best friend, good friend
- Knowing when you will have children
- Knowing how long you have to endure ill/good health
- Knowing how long you have to spend with a parent or other loved one
- Knowing how long you will have to toil before you achieve that dream
- Knowing how long you have above ground
Would you want to know the half way point?
Instinctively my answer for each of these scenarios would be yes. But this begs the next question:
Would knowing make a positive difference to your actions?
Knowing would certainly make planning easier and possibly bring some comforting validation, depending on which scenario applied. BUT I can’t help thinking that knowing in some of these scenarios would preempt certain negative outcomes, particularly if the halfway point is further than you expected.
The first two scenarios are “no-brainers”. I think we would all want to know the half way point. But what about the others?
For example, would knowing how much time you have left on earth help you maximise that time or would you constantly feel under pressure to maximise every moment and be let down if you didn’t? Would you get the life equivalent of the 4pm Sunday afternoon work blues if you knew? Would you be discouraged or encouraged by reaching the halfway point?
Surely, the answer is individual for all of us.
Would I want to know? Possibly not, living life forward and only understanding it backwards may just be enough in the long run. For now, the journey lies in TRYING to understand. The process of reaching for that brass ring may just yield more dividends than the brass ring itself.
Would you want to know the halfway point?