Friday, November 21, 2008

A Cobbled-Together Life

Life is like a box of choc-o-lates. (Sorry for the plagiarism from Forrest Gump). You never know what you’re going to get—the yucky ones, the not so yucky ones and the ones you LOVE. My favorite is the cherry centered one with the actual cherry and the gooey syrup in it. And I think, maybe ol’ Forrest had a point.

Life comes at you at the speed of light these days, the good, the bad and the ugly and sometimes I think, “This wasn’t what I had planned”, or “This wasn’t supposed to happen”, or “What am I supposed to do with this situation/person/dilemma/success/failure/illness/health?”
I was on the subway today, staring blankly out the window as the train stopped at each station as I made my way downtown. Staring at all the different tiles lining the subway walls and floors and stairs. All cobbled together into a single, pulsing organism that moves people from one end of the city to the other. The life of a subway system. All walks of life, all types of people, with a common goal—to get through this day and onto the next. Busy, busy, busy. Confused, bewildered, scared, focused, successful, unsuccessful, worried, happy, sad. A kaleidoscope of humanity, like a kaleidoscope of types of chocolates in a box.

The chocolate you take a bite of and spit out because you find it disgusting. The chocolate that tastes like a bite of heaven. The chocolate you eat anyway, even if it isn’t your favorite, but hey, it’s chocolate! Everything cobbled together into a single box for your dining pleasure.

In a cobbled-together life, you don’t know what’s going to happen next. You don’t know if your trip to the store will be a pleasure or a pain. You don’t know if someone is going to walk up to you and change your life. You don’t know if a bus will hit you as you cross the street to get to the other side (no chicken jokes, please—I know, I know, I just handed that one to you, what ARE you going to do?) You don’t know. We only know what we have experienced in the past and the moment that is happening right this second. Now. While you’re reading this.

I think we all like to plan our lives to a certain extent. To have security. To have a home. To have a way to make a living. But life can’t be entirely planned, some of it yes, but not all of it. Your entire life can change in a single second, that’s all it takes. One second to change where you are going, to change your focus or to change yourself. To change the flavor of your life.

Sometimes to truly live, you have to totally let go of everything familiar, throw yourself off the metaphorical cliff and hope for a not-too-bumpy landing. (Please don’t throw yourselves off anything dangerous, I couldn’t take the guilt.) And you discover what you can do, what you can accomplish, what you can dream. A heady, exhilarating feeling.

You, just you, are a box of chocolates all on your own—the good, the bad and the not-so-bad. A group of people is a box of chocolates in and of itself—the good, the bad and the not-so-bad. A world of people is the “cornucopia of awesomeness” box of chocolates—the good, the bad and the not-so-bad.

No one is completely perfect. No one is totally good. No one is wholly bad-to-the-bone. We cobble ourselves and our lives together to fashion it into a lifetime of adventure, a lifetime of sorrow, a lifetime of discovery, a lifetime of happiness, all intertwined together. We, each of us, have many lives to live in a single lifetime. We, each of us, have untapped resources we are as yet unaware of. We, each of us, cobble together a life to live.

Make sure your cobbling creates a box of life that you can love and can be proud of.

1 comment:

Susan Kelley said...

You sound very pensive today. Hope your train ride is more uplifting the next time. I love my 'cobbles' but I really don't like the chocolates with the cherries in the middle. LOL