Where Are We Going? Do We Know?
(Read in :03)“There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing”~ Robert Burns
There’s nothing like spending time at a nursing home to make us wonder “where are we going?” We celebrated our mom’s 90th birthday over the weekend. One get-together was for close family and we gathered at our youngest daughter’s awesome, spacious and easily accessible home. The larger party for her was in the activities room at the nursing home where she is living.
Ninety years. Holy cow. That’s a long life, clearly off the actuarial chart. The “normal” life expectancy for someone born in 1927 was about 65. Our mom has lived through more changes, adventures, and sadness than most folks. She has weathered it all remarkably well. My theory? It’s due in part to the fact she was never an overthinker or chronic workaholic like me. I got my wiring from my dad.
Where are we going this very minute?
I’ve been seeing flock after flock of geese flying north. Hundreds of them! I get a kick out of their V formations. The thing that puts a grin on my face, though? The happy honking sounds they make when they glide past me way, way up in the clouds. Springtime has them excited and eager for what lies ahead. I wish I felt the same way today.
Where are we going? Warning. A milestone birthday and a new season around the corner sent me into overthinking mode. (Sadly, there isn’t a 12 step program for the disorder.) I got a crazy thought and began to wonder how different life would be if we all came with a bar code and an expiration date stamped right on us. You know, like canned goods. Or, what if we came with a warning label that stated, “best before _____” with the date already filled in. All we do have is “born on dating” which as we know, really tells us nothing.
How will things turn out?
Would a sure knowledge of the future change anything about the way we live? If we knew we had 80 or 90 years to live would we take it slow? Would we give more thoughtful consideration, use good judgment and plan carefully? Or instead, would we fritter away an even bigger chunk of our young life if we knew for sure we had plenty more years ahead of us?
On the other hand, if we knew our life would be fairly short would we just get a “que sera sera” tattoo and go sit on the beach? Or, would we drink life in great big thirsty gulps? Is there a chance we’d live with more focus, be more serious and press down harder on the accelerator? Would we knuckle down and work hard to create our best possible legacy in our brief lifetime so we could rent a little space here for eternity?
We’ll never know, will we?
This much we do know
Where are we going? We’re already here. Uncertainty is our reality. It comes with the territory, as they say, and it isn’t over until it IS over. And not one of us knows when that day will come. The good news is that uncertainty offers us the best possible reason to do the best we can every day. And, it also says we should always drink life in big thirsty gulps because no matter how long we have, it goes by fast.
The other thing to remember is to keep trying. Sometimes, things come easily and other times you’ll tear your hair out wondering what more you can do. Keep trying, do more, look at it with a new perspective but never stop. Embrace your own uncertainty! Life is meant for doing, trying, and living!
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” ~Gilda Radner