This series of posts started out as an allegory about the life path ahead of me reconceived as the river flowing behind my grandparent’s backyard, broken down between the known and the unknown, with the blackberries found in that first, forbidden curve representing all the good things yet to come, as in, “If this is waiting just around the bend, imagine how much more there could be!”
In other words, I envisioned the blackberries as a pot of gold, meant to lure me forward into the unknown. Let’s picture that:
(I love blackberries. My apologies if all you see in that photo are triggers for your diverticulitis.)
Anyway, my perspective has changed since then. I detailed about all the difficulties, dangers, discomfort, and dire consequences involved in reaching, retrieving, and returning from the blackberry vines, and I realized that those same elements would be required with every pot of gold in both the known and unknown.
Let’s mix in some of those ingredients, shall we?
That insight made me realize that my life may or may not significantly change in the near future. Whether it does or doesn’t, I’m still headed down that river. The scenery will change, but the effort necessary along the way will not.
Life won’t get permanently easier or harder around any particular bend; it just keeps flowing until it reaches a final destination.
Which leaves me where I started, with the “known and unknown,” but now I see those divisions as merely “now and later.” More appetizingly phrased, in anticipation and the mystery ahead.
Let’s add a layer of mystery, yes?
In her later years, my grandmother often reminded me of a conversation we’d had (during my teens!) in which she’d been fretting guiltily about whether their (my grandparents) life of comfort was in vain. I’d sensed her trying to justify the circumstances they worked extremely hard to obtain (I’m not making excuses for them; they really did work hard), specifically the gorgeous view out their window.
I don’t remember everything I said to her, but I used the word “content,” and that seemed to strike the right note, henceforth serving as the term she applied to console herself, “We earned this.”
My point is that the right words prepare us mentally both for what is yet to come, and to accept where we are and how we got there. “In anticipation” is really working for me right now, knowing that whatever comes is going to be baked together with everything along the way, and it’s all delicious: