Back Theoretics

My Autobiography

In spite of it all or perhaps because of it all, I'm content ... happy even. I suppose that's the result of trying to do the best one can with middling success. Some episodes have yielded great satisfaction; some, excitement; some, embarrassment; a few, joy. I've seldom achieved unalloyed success. Usually, upon reflection, I could assign percentages of failure and success to any particular event and create benchmarks for my future attempts. Reflection is the compost pile of personal growth.

Like everyone, I had no control over my emergence into this existence. I imagine being shot into reality along a vector of so many variables that there seem to be no rhyme or reason for my particular size, direction, spin or velocity. Once here, life seemed infinitely complex and full of frustrations. You'll remember the feeling the next time you see a youngster on the playground trying to pick up the ball but booting it instead. Running after it again they reach and boot; run, reach and boot, until triumph takes the day or embarrassment urges abandonment.

With growth, experience and education that youthful klutziness was replaced by a feeling of spiritual ineptitude. My analogy changed. It seemed as though I was in a tiny sailboat. My voyage did have a murky ill-defined destination but the waters were uncharted. To add to the complexity I had no control over the winds, waves, tides or weather. The only ability to alter my course was with a bit of sail hoisted into the wind, unless you count dragging my feet as a sort of sea anchor. Hoping for the best and rather taking it on faith that there would be some advancement, tacking back and forth eventually began to provide results.

Those results came in periodic moments of enligntenment. I felt as though there was a straight line from my origin to the goal but my limited mode of travel required a zigzag series of tacks. It was only when crossing that crow-fly line a little burst of illumination would let me see that, indeed, I had made headway since the last time I had passed over it. The moment would slide by and I'd continue on my tack until it was obvious that I had lost my bearings and changing course was once again required. In this way progress was made.

For me, life has been measured in episodes. I should have made a list of them. Whether good or bad there has always been a sense of relief upon the completion of each. You know how often people wish to do things over? Not I. I'll take the satisfactions of comparative success and the lessons of seeming failures and go onward. I'm always looking forward through the lens of the present though appreciative of the past.

Had I actually kept such an episodic list of the events of my life it would constitute my autobiography without further editing. The title would be, "I'll Never Do That Again." That might also be my epitaph, although "A Man, A Plan, Kablam!" or "It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time" would be equally apropos.