In middle-class, privileged parlance, when you hit your early forties, you’re supposed to lean back, hit the after burners on your career and reap the benefits of 20 years of hard work. At least so I am led to believe by what I see on TV and how people talk around dinner tables.
Instead I am launching my 9th career… that of a teacher of English. And going through yet another learning curve and being taught new tricks. It’s a familiar space to me as I hit the after burners, if you will, or learning a new career.
If that comes off as a whine, my apologies. Sometimes I am startled by the difference between what even I thought my life trajectory would look like and the one that it is on. There is nothing wrong with the trajectory. Just with what I thought it would look like, the manner at which I arrived at those thoughts and the general ideas around trajectories in general.
These days all you here is babble from multiple sources about living life: a purpose led life, being in harmony with the universe, God’s plan, strategic living and many, many more catch and buzz words that sting and ring in your ears like a swarm of disturbed bees.
The foul clang, however, that clichés such as these make when they hit the conversational floor is cushioned by truths. Purpose, planning, God, the Universe indeed do all have something to do with it. Or not. I don’t know.
What I do know is that your actions pile up over each other in time generating an accelerating force of momentum that is well-nigh irresistible. Not recognizing the fact that every turn you took or skipped, decision you made or deferred has inexorably led you to the point where now a particular decision is before you is to seriously underestimate existential momentum. Just because life can appear to be meaningless, does not mean that the force of its history can be ignored.
So when they talk to you about purpose, god, the Universe and planning, remember to check in with that wave front of power your past actions have created. If it’s looking bleak, maybe you can start early enough to divert it. Maybe you can’t. Maybe you don’t want to. Maybe though you can ride it, enjoy it and exhilarate in the magnificent purposeful patternless-ness of it. Or see God’s plan. While you ride the wave, nothing matters but the riding.
Did I mention I am starting a new career?