HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

August 6, 2007

Life has a weird way of happening on purpose

Ever since we were young, we have anticipated the future – we look forward to the weekend, visits with grandma, our birthdays, stuff like that.

It seems that most of life is about planning ahead – what are we going to be when we grow up, what are we going to do after high school, college, and so on.

Oftentimes, it can be exciting to think of these things, but sometimes this anticipation can grip our lives and take away from what actually is happening right now.

People have a natural sense of wonder embedded in their minds. There is a curiosity about what is going to happen in our future that causes us to anticipate. Sometimes, the fear of the future can make us get ahead of ourselves, and become too focused on what is going to happen.

I was thinking about this a lot this weekend, how it feels like I’ve been holding my breath this whole summer, always hoping and anticipating what is going to happen next. What job I have to be at tomorrow, whose call I need to return, how many hours I need to work to meet my “summer goal,” and so on and so on.

This realization made me think back to something I learned in high school.

I had an English teacher that was really big on symbolism.

Each book we would read, he would have us dig deep and find the underlying meaning, the themes – all that jazz.

Now, most of the time, the themes we would find were only applicable to the book, stuff about the characters etc., but there was one element that was common among each book we read, this concept of circles in life.

We would read these books and watch how a character developed over a period of time, and the ups and downs they would experience, and how their lives had tiny circles within them, which ended up creating the overall circle of their life.

I remember thinking at the time that this was just another symbolic gesture that we had to get through in order to understand the book, but I never thought that it would really ever apply to my real life.

But, contrary to what I thought, I have been starting to recognize this concept of circles. Each thing that starts, must conclude in some way and although these books were fiction, we learned a lot about our lives.

My English teacher taught us that in life, just like in the books, everything comes full circle; there is a beginning and an end.

This English lesson never really sunk in until recently, when I realized that I was really worried about things that were about to happen, that were supposed to happen, and that fear of the unknown made me lose track of what is actually happening in life.

I took a step back and realized that things in life do come full circle, meaning that there is a beginning and an end to everything, so there is no use in worrying about how it may work out.

If we were to spend our whole lives planning and anticipating what will be, we would never actually reach our destination and we would never complete our goals because we would never experience the present.

I think it’s good to dream and it’s good to have wild ideas of the future, but the second you start to worry about what will be, you must stop and realize that things will work themselves out.

But there is a catch – the beginnings and endings don’t run on the same calendar that our life does. These circles happen completely on their own time, completely out of our control.

So, why worry? We are mere mists on this earth. We are only here for the blink of an eye, so we need to start living knowing that things will work themselves out, that time will continue moving along, regardless of our decisions and regardless of the consequences (good or bad) of these decisions. Life will be okay, things will begin and end, and with each ending, something new will begin.

These circles will progress us through life filled with many lessons, allowing us to learn from what has happened, and preparing us for what is yet to come. But we must realize that we only have right now to actually do something about, so we shouldn’t waste that precious time predicting the future. Make the best of the moment at hand and enjoy the cycle you are traveling through.

Who knew some high school class would actually help me out in life? Life has a weird way of happening on purpose.