I still look forward to my birthday. With it comes the perfect excuse to do all the things I love doing and eat all the things I love eating. What also accompanies the pastry, the cake and the rhubarb and ginger gin, however, is the opportunity to reflect on the passing of time.
As we age and our vantage point grows higher, our perspective changes. We can understand more, certainly; we have more knowledge and research with which to navigate the world. We can view our choices and decisions - our successes and failures - with more objectivity. We can see how mistakes turned out for the better and how painful times improved us as people.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
However, with all of the information, skills and tools I have gleaned from my twenty-nine years in this world, it is somewhat frustrating that the future never gains clarity. I have no more of an idea what will happen tomorrow than I did when I was a child. Sure, my estimations may be more accurate now. I could guess pretty well based on my experiences and I am fortunate to live somewhere that continues to tick along much as it always has done, but there is no way of knowing. I could learn everything that there is to learn, but this will always evade me; the one thing that I concern most of my thought with will always evade me.
As much as this is frustrating, it is beautiful and exciting. It is how opportunity and surprise exist. And it is something I vow to never take for granted. I think I would find this world so much easier to navigate if I followed my assumptions without question, but I would miss out on appreciating a lot of what it so wonderful about this place.
Knowing that I could lose everything I love tomorrow makes me truly grateful that I have those things today. Knowing that I could gain more than I could ever imagine tomorrow makes me excited to be alive. The likelihood, of course, is that tomorrow will be somewhat unremarkable. But there’s no real way of knowing till I get there.