Trains signify movement. They take you from one place to another by going forward.
The moment our bodies pass through the birth canal; the second we take our first breaths of air then spit it right back at world with a fervent wail, we are already aboard the train.
As we age, many of us living in first world countries are born on a predetermined path.
To our parents this first cry is joy, it signifies a new life, their new life. Does this initial scream hold the same meaning for newborns? Maybe this howl is the first of many rebellions against the predetermined. Maybe we did not want, we definitely did not chose, to leave the comforts of our mothers womb.
Did we know that from that day forward there were preset expectations already in place? Our lives mapped out from our first milestones to elementary school all the way through university and often beyond.
Were we aware that our value would be assessed and assigned based on our ability and the magnitude to meet each milestone after another? Since humans don’t form memories until about 32-38 months of age I guess we may never know.
At some point however, we do recognize that certain things are expected of us. These goals may vary slightly between families but the core ideas are basically identical.
We learn and are judged on timelines. We to make eye contact, lift our heads, roll over, crawl, walk, talk; and all this in the first two years of our lives!
Then comes education. Twenty-two years, give or take, of schooling. Expectations of passing; surpassing every level then moving forward to the next.
Then we are married, buy a home, have children. We save and take our kids to soccer practice and more often than not instill the same values passed on to us by our parents.
As we approach the final chapter we are left to wonder; would we have chosen the life we led?
If left to our own devices we may have taken a different train, landed in another location.
Some take chances. Those who defy the status quo, who do not follow the rhythm of life our society has composed, often DO find themselves in destinations unknown to the rest of us. Exotic foreign lands full of adventure and intrigue.
Often I wonder if I should hop on the “fringe express”, but I can not. Even if I take that train for a time I always transfer. This is a personal choice; the exotic may be fun but the novelty of the excitement wears off and I find myself craving the life my parents had wanted for me. All of which forces me to consider, this preset path, this journey through life the majority of us will take, maybe it was planned that way for a reason. Maybe for most of us it is the right path.
Do you have regrets? Do you resent the choices you DIDN’T MAKE? Would you go, right now, if you got to the station and there it was the fringe express; would you take it?
~ the audacious amateur blogger