Many years ago, my grandmother escaped a shipwreck without so much as a damp toe.
Tired of the harsh life in a broken Europe, she had decided to start anew in Australia.
On the day of departure, her bags were packed, and her heart was set in stone. She was off to the Great Southern Land. But the fates didn’t want to play Grandma’s game that morning.
Her alarm clock didn’t go off. She misplaced her travel documents. Then the train was late. Every step of her journey was littered with obstructions.
Grandma arrived at the docks just in time to see the ship slip gently out to sea. She was distraught.
At this point, much to the Pope’s horror, Grandma always quotes the Dalai Lama:
“Sometimes, not getting what you want is a stroke of luck.”
Not a soul on board that ship touched Australian soil. It disappeared shortly after leaving Cape Town.
It was just as much her tardiness as it was divine providence (despite what she might tell you) that prevented her premature and watery grave. But if Grandma had got what she wanted that day, I wouldn’t be here at all.
Now, I’d call that lucky.
We like to think we’re in control of things — especially when they’re going well.
But as ol’ Bill wrote, “We are but a feather for each wind that blows.“
When a chinook of change rips across the prairie of Life, plucking us from our steady path to dance with Fortuna and Discordia for a time, there isn’t much we can do about it.
By the time we settle back down to ground, Life has changed.
Often, we have changed too.
Many people busy themselves trying to stay rooted to the ground — to steel their future against fickle flaws of fate.
Have you ever watched a swallow bursting its little heart flapping against a gale?
It never lasts long.
When those winds wail through, there isn’t much else we can do but let go, spread our arms, and hope that where we come to rest the sun is shining.
It’s well-known that humans are terrible at remembering things.
We peer through the blurry lens of time, forgetting the boring or nasty or annoying memories and embellishing the tasty morsels.
It makes us awful at predicting the future too.
We ignore all of the massive, disruptive change we’ve lived through and decide that the future will be pretty much the same as it is now. Nothing will change. We are at the end of the line—the end of history.
But we’re not.
We’re not even close.
Imagine a 20-year-old suggesting that they’d done all the changing they’d ever do and life would be plain sailing for the next decade.
Yet, that’s what we do to ourselves every day.
I aim to change my life every 6 months and the last year has still seen far more change than I ever expected. And I’m betting Life will change again by the end of this year for all of us.
Don’t beat yourself up by imagining the future is the past.
Not finished yet?
More like just getting started.