I am an eternal, relentless optimist.
I cannot help but believe that, no matter how much shit we might have to trudge through first, things will always work out for the best in the end. And I cannot help, either, but to believe in the best of everyone’s nature, no matter how hidden the good stuff may be.
But there is a peril hanging above our heads that my relentless optimism cowers in the face of, even if it tries not to show it. Will we destroy this precious gift we’ve been given?
I can’t bring myself to believe we will, but I also cannot deny the very real possibility. The options for such a deliverance are plentiful. We keep coming up with more. And once they’ve been thought of, surely, they must be resolved. One way or the other. How long until one resolves decidedly not in our favour? Just how many, in fact, lurk, unfinished, in the shadows up ahead, like long snakes we haven’t yet met the fangs of? Could one wrong move be all it takes? We’ve made plenty already, bumbling around into things we had no business bumbling into. Is it already too late? Did we already destroy it, and we just don’t know it yet? Were we already bitten, and now we’re simply waiting for the venom to overcome us?
Life is so resilient, yet so precarious. And faced with the choice of progress or perish, I’m not sure we’re capable of discerning which is which. So what will become of us?
I can only speculate.
Do we all ache for more time?
I’ve heard people hypothesise that death is a blessing specifically because if we had time stretching out into infinity we’d grow disinterested and depressed with life – no urgency, no impetus, nothing to make the endeavour worthwhile.
I proffer a disagreement.
I can see that being an option, of course – it’s easy to see how that could develop. But JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THE WORLD IS A MAGICAL PLACE THAT IT WOULD TAKE MILLIONS OF LIFETIMES TO SCRATCH THE SURFACE OF AND THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING OF IT! So many things unlike all the others, how could you ever get bored? I would like to dig and dig and dig.
So give me infinity. I’ll risk depression and stagnancy to find out how it feels. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.
At the very least I think it would be nice to decide when the time should run out. But I also suspect that, if we had all the time in the world, our nature would gradually become less human and more like that of our universe. So, rather than transitioning from day to night, life to death, we would, inch by inch, transcend the dichotomy until, like the world around us, we simply were.
But what do I know? The Universe itself may ache for more time.
In the garden centre today I saw they were hiring and I thought ooh, maybe I should apply, maybe they’ll have some hours that fit around my current job but don’t cut into Makaloo time, and I thought about what a nice time I’d surely have working at the garden centre. And then I started working out just how many hours I could squeeze in, and what kind of rota I could accommodate, and how I could rejig my responsibilities to make more space for my imaginary job at the garden centre. I don’t know why I do this. The best object is always the shiny object, apparently. Every emergent possibility is the most compelling. I have more or less learned not to follow the instinct to chase these possibilities, but I still waste an inordinate amount of time excitedly considering them.
Working at the garden centre would absolutely not fit into my life, or take me in any direction I want to go. I’d be stressed out, smothered under a pile of dirty dishes, and I’d spend all the extra money on plants. If I had a few dozen avatars, it might make sense for one of them to work at the garden centre, because I like it there. But I don’t have a few dozen avatars, or even a couple, so I should really fix my gaze on the things I actually want, in this single life that I have the privilege of living. I have three active endeavours right now, and three is altogether too many. I can’t feasibly make it less, but I certainly shouldn’t be trying to make it more.
What must it be like for one’s deires to be immutable?
I can’t say for certain that mine aren’t, actually, it’s just that they are so profuse I routinely forget the order of them.
I’ve been skimming the surface of my life again lately. What am I avoiding?
We are living in strange times. It seems trite to say – what part of the modern era hasn’t been strange? But things seem to be getting stranger. Whenever I think about it, I also can’t help but to think about how tiny I am. A speck, floating on the strange breeze which, one day quite soon, might become a strange hurricane. I have no power here.
I know I have power. And I could use my power, in allegiance with others, to potentially enact some kind of response to whatever strange change is rising. But I’m scared that it will catch me unaware. I’m scared that none of us are predicting it accurately. I’m scared there’s just too much to the story, and that even our best minds fall short. I’m scared it’s going to come down to luck, for almost each and every one of us, which way we get cast by the strange wind that’s coming.
So this skimming I’m doing of late; I think I’m putting my head in the sand. Playing video games instead of living my life, because I feel preemptively trapped and disempowered. As I imagine what decisions I may be called to make in future years, I’m playing scenarios out in my head and regularly finding myself in a hypothetical location where acting in accordance with my values risks my personal safety, and I’m wrestling with the fact that I think, as a mother, I would probably surrender my values for my personal safety. And I don’t like that. Not least because I fear preserving my short-term personal safety could come at the cost of my long-term personal safety. The future is a strange, scary knot.
In part I’m getting way ahead of myself. But, in part, too, I feel like I’ve let myself be left behind. Something is going on in the world, bigger than all the things going on, and I don’t understand it. Not even a little bit. And I’ve sensed it coming for years, and I’ve told myself I was being melodramatic. But now it’s still coming, and it’s closer, and I still don’t know what to do with it.
But that’s not a good enough reason to do nothing.
It’s funny how most of our fears are not the fears we think they are when we think them.
Well, I can only really speak for myself, but I know it is reported to be a wider human proclivity.
I have been noticing lately, when I get a scary thought, the vague fear that encroaches seems on the surface to be about one thing, but if I stay with it, explore it, interrogate it, it turns out to be something altogether different. Something altogether stupider.
For instance, am I scared that my life will never get any better because I dislike my current life? Or is it actually that, even though I love my life, I’m scared that if it isn’t, at all times, actively and immediately getting better in demonstrable ways, it’ll inexplicably start getting worse, and then other people will blame me for not having a good life? Yeah, it’s the second one. The stupider one.
It’s worth questioning these things, because when you see the stupid in broad daylight, it makes it much less appealing to hold onto.