Rock On

Every once in a while I’m taken by what I call “Talking Heads Syndrome.” That is, I find myself behind the wheel of a large automobile, and I realize This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife.

How did I get here?

“It’s all about choices, Neo…”

I can pick out a few different key moments in my life where I zigged when I could have zagged, when a minor decision I made blossomed into huge other instances. Sometimes these seemed like unusual decisions, risky ones; sometimes they seemed like the “smart” thing to do.

  • When I refused to lie about being sexually active while student at Brigham Young University.
  • When I proposed to my pregnant girlfriend and made the commitment to have a family.
  • When I told the recruiter I didn’t want a desk job in the Marines, “Put me in the infantry!”
  • When I got up the guts to ask a pretty artist on a date at a summer fair in Wisconsin.
  • When I chose to work for myself instead of a company like Sony.
  • When I volunteered as an audiovisual support tech at a relationship conference, and came away thinking I could teach better than that…
  • When I wasted taxpayer’s money at my job by websurfing about Open Space Technology.
  • When I blew my savings on a ticket to spend a weekend with author Spider Robinson on Gambier Island.
Most choices? Not this easy.

The importance of some of these may seem obvious to you. Others may make you scratch your head and say “What’s the big deal?” But that’s the point, you see: the significance of them is only evident from the perspective of both time and experience. Certainly I didn’t realize the significance of the things that would follow from any of those.

You had to be there, basically, and even if you were, that’s no guarantee you’ll correctly assess the situation. There was a time when I sat behind a woman in a college class and thought Wow, we have nothing in common and a few years later she was standing with me at my wedding as my Best Woman (I had a Best Man, too).

There have also been times that I looked around and said Yes, this is my life, this is how I will spend the rest of my days and a few years later there is literally nothing left of that world. It has, to quote Stephen King’s Gunslinger, moved on.

It makes me think there are no guarantees in life. Except, maybe, rocks.

Leap, and the Rocks Will Appear

…what do you mean that’s not how the saying goes?

I know that as a personal life philosopher I’m supposed to say something about a metaphorical net, or sprouting wings and learning to fly or some of that nonsense.


It’s all about rocks. If you leap, that’s one of the first things you’ll see. Great big rocks underneath you, heading towards you at a high velocity.

Some People Even LIKE Rocks

Thing is, even when you weren’t leaping, there were still rocks all over the place. Underfoot. In your shoe. Rolling down a hill. Hidden in that field where you were sowing, hoping to reap the fruits etc.

Hey, if you wanna play the metaphor game, I can put rocks in anywhere.

Rocks are a fact of life.

But the nice thing about rocks is that they don’t care. They don’t care if you go “splat” after you leap, or if you land nimbly on your toes and leap nimbly from crag to crag with the balletic grace of a billy goat. You can reach out to that cliff face that you’ve just leaped off of and grab hold, finding crevices and nodules and all manner of interesting places to stick your hands and feet for support.

I took a lot of leaps in my life, some which I didn’t even realize. Nor did I realize that there were rocks underneath until far too late. I think, though, that the more you realize there are rocks, that there are going to be rocks, and that the rocks don’t actually have it in for you…the more you can start to enjoy the climb, the leap, the polishing, the hot stone massages.

Life? It rocks.

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