Apparently, life is about continuing to breath while living in limbo.
Because despite having access to every invention in the world to tell us which way to go (GPS, iPhone, apps galore), it turns out we have to cope and decide and dedicate ourselves to stepping in one direction vs another with no promises at all.
I sometimes think I hear the collective crinkle of a smile from the generations who went before us. It must contain a bit of relief that even with the coming-true of the Jetsons, life is still life, and no one is exempt from the ambiguity that comes with it.
Michelle Slatella asked yesterday in her New York Times column "Life's Journeys, a Lot Less Mysterious": "How does it change the way we experience the world, to know that nothing is unknown?" She's referring to the way we rely on our devices. The ones we buy to "make life easier" as well as the internal ones - our sense that we know everything there is to know, that we can get the information we need in a Google minute. Even the certainty that every corner of every vast forest and empty ocean has been plotted, mapped, committed to some service or other.
An old boyfriend once commented that in my infinite and earnest college-aged wisdom it was a shame that I was never surprised, by anything. Did I really know it all back then? When I know so little now?
GPS can't get us where we really need to go, not even close. A dear friend is trying to decide whether to choose a radical mastectomy because she's predisposed to breast cancer. Another grapples with a relationship that reflects her hopes for the future some days, but not others. John and I live on in our beloved home, gambling like Columbus would have that the gulf between us and financial terra firma is only a month's sail away.
It's the gamble. The GPS would say "Remove the breasts. Pack your bags. Sell the house." But for what?
Michelle Slatella consulted a professor from U.C. Irvine who specializes in maps and early explorers, asking her that question, about how living on the assumption that nothing is unknown is effecting our generation. The Professor responded that in the olden days, explorers "know where they are starting from. And they know that there is something beyond what they know."
She said: "When you are lost, there are possibilities."