Oh for the sweet, glorious, infuriating, unpredictability of life.
Things never turn out quite the way you expect. That cake you spent ages on could leave the oven looking distinctly cookie-esque; the dress you thought would look like a dream might end up looking like Homer Simpson’s mumu; a trip you planned with someone you thought would be fun to travel with may turn out to be a living nightmare.
Or the person that promised to be committed to you is not. Or the new car that you bought with hard-earned savings is stolen. Or a heathy young person is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Expectation is a powerful thing and it is dangerous, because at the core of expectation is an assumption that life will allow for some level of predictability. Which is a lie.
Life cannot be predicted. In fact, life revels in rebelling against prediction. Life runs from it like an eighteen year old spring-breaker running from a raging bull in Pamplona. Or maybe life is the bull, and we are the naive muppet who thought it would be a good idea to get in the way of a thing determined to be free, to be untethered, to be wildly unpredictable.
Let me be clear, there are some things in life that can be predicted. Someday you will die (setting aside the real possibility of cryogenics or some other wild scientific breakthrough – which if it comes to it I would gladly skip out on tyvm). We can also fairly confidently predict that the sun will rise and set.
But beyond these two events I struggle to think of any other such situation or circumstance that we can decidedly rely upon. There are things that I fervently wish were predictable. That children will grow old, for example. Or that the tide will rise and fall, because who knows what future damage we will inflict on this earth that could change that fact.
And yet, despite us all being able to attest to the impossibility of predicting life’s every twist and turn, we (myself included) continue to rely on life being – at least to some degree – predictable. We make plans and decisions, all the while putting our faith in the raging bull who charges for us.
I don’t think this trust is misplaced. To lose trust in life would mean losing trust in the greatest advocate for your existence. Despite the horrible things that can happen amongst the unpredictability (and there is no dismissing or diminishing these horrors), there is also glory. There is hope, joy, love, adventure, discovery, and all the other cheesy slogans that are entirely true if you are willing to get over disappointment, or pessimism, to try to understand the single-mindedness of a creature that knows only how to charge forward with or without you.
So I have a suggestion.
I’m not under the illusion that I can offer any advice I would be comfortable with people taking on board, so I say this more to myself than anyone else.
If life is charging at you – the blood of it’s previous victim still dripping off it’s toughened horns – instead of running, why not take the bull by the horns*.
I’m not saying don’t make plans. All I’m suggesting is that maybe there is more to life than trying to dodge it’s inevitable impact by out-manoeuvring it. Why not take the initial impact, swing your legs over it’s broad back, and hold on for dear life?
You may not end up going where you expected, but perhaps if you work with the bull rather than running from it, he will be more reasonable.
Or perhaps not, but regardless: I would ride with the raging bull than try to predict its war path. I’d rather look at life as a comrade, than an enemy.
*Yup, I agree. Weak. Lame. Cringe. All of the above.