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It Has Yet to Play Itself Out, October 1st, 2000 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

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archived soapbox: October 1st, 2000
"It Has Yet to Play Itself Out" [permalink]
    keywords: christmas, family, friends, decisions, ambition, career, life
    soapbox #: 261
    written: October 1st, 2000
    words: 915

"It Has Yet to Play Itself Out", an Essay

This holiday season, I've been thinking a lot about what's been going on around me. With friends, family, strangers, and so on.

It wasn't too long ago that I was a naive grade school child who read and heard about all the things that happen to grownups and what sorts of things one should expect to encounter in life. All those modern books talk about the trials and tribulations of life, and from media, peers, and parents, I heard about human tendencies and what people end up doing in life.

It was, of course, simply interesting stories to me at the time. What you can learn as a third party compares little to experience.

So now I've seen all sorts of wondrous things: seeing friends celebrate special events together, seeing people grow away from school and come into their own and accumulate wealth and skill and family, seeing Parisians actually carrying their baguettes just like the stories told, noticing people my age having babies and getting married, having to look at women's hands at first glance for the first time, understanding more about the paths my parents took, realizing connections that lead people from youth into tax-fearing adults. I am seeing the stories play themselves out into reality. Things that were mere fantasy before are no longer such.

Perhaps a late connection to make in my mind, but did you really stop and think about growing up when you were 22, beyond just as a poor joke about how you're getting old?

But that's all pretty mundane. The real thing that concerns me is the fact that these are all external events. That is, these situations that occur in life are things that I am observing happening to OTHER people, and NOT to myself.

I feel like the narrator in some famous novel that everyone had to read in high school, and as a result, most people ended up hating till the day they died. Call me Ishmael, perhaps. I'm observing some big trek that's taking place, but that's all I'm doing...observing.

But see, here's the problem. The problem is that what I am doing right now feels like the correct thing to be doing...for me. In fact it feels like I'm doing things the only way that would make sense for me.

And I take it one step further by questioning whether I really feel ready or not. I still feel as though I have so much to learn before I can make a solid debut into the world...or maybe that's not what I meant to say.

I mean, I know how most people do things, and I know how the usual way to do things is and how it ends up leading to wherever you want to go, but it just doesn't feel right at all...it feels like it would be a betrayal of what I've been trying to do.

And what if this feeling is just me justifying my own failure or laziness or meaninglessness? What if I'm really doing the wrong thing and have the wrong goals? What if?

I don't think I completely understand where I'm going when I do the things that I feel I should be doing. The ultimate goal seems clouded in mystery. I don't feel as though I have any model to follow, any reassurance that what I feel in my heart has any credibility in the real world.

Please understand this is not a cry for help. And I don't feel lonely. And I don't have massive depressive problems. And I don't NOT take life with enough of a sense of humor (you read those things about what old people would change about their lives, and they almost invariably say they would have taken things less seriously). And I don't feel as though I'm pursuing the wrong career. And I don't have many regrets.

But surely you can identify with the conflict you feel inside when you feel deeply inside about one thing, but see no justification or support or case study in others to help you believe that you're not just throwing your life away with a pipe dream.

Sure, I am taking a path less traveled, and the question remains whether I trust myself enough to continue following this blind faith of mine. Is it fair for those around me, like my parents, or to me, or to anyone else that might be involved? Am I being completely unrealistic?

Time will tell, I guess, but all of what I've done makes complete sense to me... A sign of courage or a sign of stubborn egotism?

In any event, I will continue to narrate. Perhaps when I am ready, my own story will begin to be written. I blame an over-zealous author for killing off one of the main characters, as a main factor in this story's delay. If I am right about all this, I will have an amazing story to tell when I'm old, a story of adventure, peril, victory, and love.

I better damn well be, since I'm not digging a Moby Dick ending too much. Are you? How about a Much Ado About Nothing ending instead?


 
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