Every Ramble Happens For A ReasonHey gang,
I literally don't know if anything or everything happens for a reason, but I thought I wanted to write about it tonight; I certainly feel in the mood. I perhaps ask myself about this question more than any other, and I reckon it's about the only topic area in Experience Project that I'll check into from time to time. Seems to me like it's difficult to reconcile freedom of choice with a little bit of determination, and yet posing that might be a false dichotomy. When I was younger, like twenty, I spent a fair bit of time getting high pretty regularly; I wasn't doing it to unwind, I was trying to figure out the world I lived in, and on one occasion I came away thinking ... well, knowing really, that I had seen an underlying order to the world. Every moment, every challenge, everything, built upon my entire history, and I processed the complexity of it all with a sophisticated ease. In a less ... mystical sense, we tend to go to "Everything Happens for a Reason," on proof grounds, by citing the very strange coincidences that do happen to us, or the important actions we undertake on the basis of strong hunches. We respect the truth of the world because we are faced with countless situations where our instinct about what is true, pays off, and so, I think at least, we come to trust that truth, so long as it seems to be guiding us the right way. I don't think I ever really second guessed "Everything..." throughout my twenties, because I always seemed to have immense luck: transitions that needed to occur did occur, and the timing was almost always quite impeccable. If I needed a new job to save money so I could move off to school, I would suddenly get that new job, and usually through an entertaining, or highly satisfactory ("I'm learning something new!") but improbable chain of events. If I needed a place, a cheap place, to live, I would be offered one from a friend, someone who increasingly just "showed up," or happened to be crossing my path. I basically just learned to trust life. Two years ago, or I guess three now, I was offered a job that would have, in many ways, satisfied what I imagined my youthful ambitions to be: I had always wanted to be a comedy writer or satirist. Moreover, the job required, or built upon, the basis of my education, and relatively scant professional experience. It would have been, I guess, a bit of a home run, and certainly, it would have kept at bay the following questions: what do you actually do as a career; are you a "success"; what do you want to be when you grow up; what's the difference between you and a clever homeless man? And so forth. I wound up turning this job down, and I'm not sure why. Basically, it felt wrong, and it struck me strangely. It felt wrong in terms of fit, and it felt wrong in terms of whether I could handle a move to New York, which I was by no means personally sure of. About four months later, I became ... actually, let me alter that, right away I became extremely sick. About a month after I turned it down, I became terribly ill, and four months later, the illness had progressed to rather dramatic symptoms. About eight months after turning the job down, I was lying in bed all day, barely able to function. And about a year later, I discovered that my quirky, strange, emotional, and yet somewhat cope-able illness, was in fact thyroid cancer. I feel like I ramble, but what it comes down to was, I spent the last three years being sick, and then dealing with treatment, and then recovering and saving up the money to even attempt another shot a moving away from my small hometown, which is where I had to return to to receive treatment. I wish I could articulate a story that somehow gave credence, simple credence, satisfying credence, to the maxim that it all happens for a reason, but I'm not sure if I can.
In my past, when I was younger, I once nearly got stranded overnight in a big city, because I missed the bus out of town to catch the last ferry. As an adult, this challenge would not have been a big deal: I'd ride back into town, get a room somewhere, ride it out until the next morning, and I'd be just fine. But as a 19 year old, a very naive one, this represented a not insignificant challenge. As it so happened, a driver had witnessed my run to the bus, as well as my genuine look of, I guess, discomfort. He pulled over, let me hop in, and then literally sped and overtook the bus, allowing me to catch it a few stops up. I can point to plenty of things like this: "coincidences," sure, but very, very merciful ones, which helped me in my life. I'm not sure, as I get older, what to make of them, and I find my faith, which was very strong as a young man, absolutely ... stretched. If you'll allow myself to indulge a little further (and of course, you'd only still be reading if this were useful to you), I do have to say that cancer was kind of good for me. It absolutely swept away old parts of myself, and what remained was a little more authentic. When I was absolutely broke at the end of my treatment, because I hadn't worked in a year, and became, in fact, homeless, having to work my way out of the very lowest place the economy can place me, on ten dollars, was a good experience, because it made me hard enough again.
I'm not sure why I'm writing this, if only to ask the traditional questions. I don't like the pat answer of everything happens, and yet I want to believe it, because I don't want to believe that my life, and the earnest desire for SOMETHING, a goal buried deep in my subconscious, or Ithaca that I do not fully know or understand, is worth the struggle of walking there. I am half set on selling out; marshaling my not insignificant education toward becoming some professional, or attempting to create "virtual" wealth by playing the markets, and a host of other things that I guess adults do after they realize they are not built of stone, but are vulnerable, and getting more vulnerable with time. But I don't want to. I want to chase a dream I do not understand, at a place I do not know, and I want some hand to guide me there, and I want to know the hand is there and cares. "Everything happens for a reason." I hope.
Edit: You know, I should probably add a few additional thoughts: first of all, from an everything happens standpoint, the interpretation of what has happened here is that my youthful ambitions were not genuine, and hence, when I came within striking distance of them, even though I felt a certain satisfaction at having gotten close, I didn't feel happy "holding" the result. Immediately afterward I got launched into a new and very different segment of my life, one which pruned a lot of the old coping and posturing that made me a pretty decent satirist. From an "Everything..." point of view, I had my fake pearls stolen. With all this said, and I'm guilty myself, I'm sort of disappointed that there appear to be very few stories available here of people who have lived enough of their lives to provide a demonstrative or seemingly definitive account, if such were possible. There is certainly a lot of statement of belief in principle, but not so much "and here is clearly why it was better." This is not meant to trash, but is sort of just meant as observation, and I may be off ba