Thursday, June 28, 2007

Imitating Life.

Consider a situation in which things are running smoothly in general. Sure there are problems, but by and large they are swept under the rug, deftly sidestepped and ignored, or jumped over like a hurdle and left on the track. As time goes by, existence within this arena becomes more and more trying, with the details and the unsolved issues rolling downhill, picking up steam as they snowball together. No one involved realizes it, but the previously disregarded difficulties are now full-fledged crises.

Before you know it, the force of this phantom you thought would fade away is now crashing into you like a tidal wave. It overtakes your world without a chance to counter. After this catastrophe, you are left with the remains of a seemingly lost chapter in time. Your mind struggles to grasp and ponder the past, present, and future. What went wrong? What should and should not have been done? Where are you now? Where do you start? What do you even want?

Welcome to my reality... or at least the expressed textual form. We all sit at the table while life deals us the hand each time. We evaluate our cards, attribute value to the quality and quantity of the chips in our pile, then we are forced to place our bets. It's the way the game is played, and there is no getting around it. You toss in the chips you're comfortable risking, and you hope for the best. "Luck be a lady," "know when to fold 'em," the list of trite phrases is lengthy when perpetuating this analogy of life's game.

How do we know how to play? A fair portion can be attributed to luck, as well as the people around us, the talents we possess, and the experience within the game itself. This is where I am: at the table, having been dealt a new hand that could go either way. Evaluation of the chips in my pile, the other players at the table, and of the odds provided by the deck itself is the task I am shouldering.

Needless to say, fun has been an afterthought. FFXI pales in challenge to the trepidations of our real lives. I'm at a crossroad and a standstill. I'm simultaneously puzzled, shocked, disappointed, worried, devastated, and frustrated. Some of us seem to dwell in chaos, to thrive upon the very challenges of our imperfect lives. This isn't an easy way to live, but perhaps more thrilling in a way. We extinguish the fires as we go, staring desperation in the face only to strike it down.

As I've always done, I'm seeing my life from many varying viewpoints. I have examined it all myself, I've turned to friends & family for their perspective, and I've stood back and taken a second, broader look. Over-analyzing things, in my experience, can at times exacerbate rather than alleviate the problem. I'm trying to grow throughout life, finding the balance that exists between the extreme ends of the spectrum in all situations.

Success can be defined differently by each person you ask. Of course it can also vary depending on the event in question. For me right now it's a matter of short-term versus long-term. What I want in my farsighted goal may well be taken away soon. The swamp of my present predicaments can be waded through in the short-term, perhaps not giving me what I feel I want but preparing me to have such things in the future. Patience, diligence, and effort are required right now, and I'm at no lack of these traits.

I've obviously spared the details of exactly what my situation is, but such dramatic difficulties and changes to life are generally universal. It's not hard to guess what the two factors are. We've all likely seen one or the other before, and hopefully not both at the same time, as is the case with me now. However, I've never given up on a crisis before and I do not intend to break that trend.

Perhaps it is faith, perhaps force of will, or even a bit of fate if you choose to believe in such a concept. I subscribe to the notion that we all aspire to be what we want to, and to do what we feel is "right" at the time we have to make the choice. Sometimes it works out, sometimes we mess it up, but we must always dust ourselves off and see that there is a definitive path we walk.

Where I am in life is directly resulted by each and every single action, circumstance, and occurrence that has ever taken place within it. I can look back and say I wish things had gone differently, that I didn't have to see or go through certain things, but what of the consequences of those wishes? Where would I be, nay, who would I be if I could unravel the fabric of my life, to undo things, to change the very things that have brought me to the point I exist today?

Regret is a human frailty. I understand and even participate in it from time to time, but in the scheme of things regret is something to be avoided. You must live without fear of regret, without feeling that the opportunities you take are lost causes. Every single step you have ever taken has brought you to this very moment in time, to be the exact person you are. Accept those things, look back at them only to learn and use the experience for the step in front of you. Take the fork in the path if it suits you, and know that the main road always exists if you have to abandon the road less traveled.

I may be feeling unhappy and almost defeated right now, but it is only temporary. I am proud of my life, for the simple reason that I did what I felt I had to do at each point, to take the path I thought was correct at each turn. I have demolished walls, I have evaded traps, I have sailed over gorges. So it has been and so it will be. I will hunker down, walk straight into the wind if need be, and press forth in everything I do.

Will I get where I'm going? Absolutely. I'm not sure it matters if I know where that'll be just yet.

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