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Friday, December 16, 2011

How Would You Reshape Your World?

It seems like most people feel stuck; as if we're not able to affect the world around us or our place within it. I think one of the main draws of the democratic form of government is that it provides the illusion of control without any of the responsibilities of power. But that's not really the point I'm going for here.

Your world is the way it is because of a lot of things that happened to you. You didn't choose your parents or the country in which you were born or where you went to school as a child. You were affected by the choices of others for most of the first 10 or 15 years of your life.

But it seems like we've let that become our conditioned response. We learned that our lives are determined by the choices of others and so we continue in that path, similar to the way we learned how to eat with a knife and fork and we continue that habit. But that's not our only path. We can reshape our own worlds, if we choose to.

But choice is risky. Choice involves pain, effort and an ineffable quality of courage. When you choose, you are standing out from the world that is affected by choice. Certain things are supposedly set in stone, you don't have a choice. You are supposed to go to school as a child and then on to college, after that you get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids, get old, retire and then die. Only two of the things in that list are beyond your ability to choose. Do you want them all?

Every so often I'll just rearrange all the furniture in a room. Not because the old way was bad, but because I need something new. But when I rearrange the furniture, every option is open. I might move the bed into the living room or the dining room table by the front door. I love stripping things down nothing and then rebuilding them in a better way. It's a simple thing to do with a room or a document, but a life is much more difficult.

Over the last two-and-a-half years my life has been chaos. We've been homeless, unemployed, underemployed and overemployed. We sold everything we owned and left everything we knew to head out into the world. We gained amazing friends and were deeply hurt by people we cared about. Today  there isn't much less chaos, we still don't know what the future holds for us. I have two degrees that I'm not using professionally and Andrea has a degree she's not using. We're both certified to teach English, and we're not doing that.

I imagine the first sailor who lost sight of shore relying on a lodestone to guide him. The odd rock is pointing unwaveringly to the north, but with no land in sight, the rock is pointing at nothing. It's a terrifying experience to step out into the unknown, to make a choice when you don't know the consequences, but within that choice is life. And death.

What choices would you make to change your world?

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