Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I think the Universe is trying to tell me something

It is a natural tendency to think that the Universe makes sense, that there is an order to it and that things happen for a reason. While some might argue that this is the natural inclination of the religious, it is also a firmly held conviction in science too. The answers to the question: why and how and who might be very different but the underlying belief, that sense can be made of the world around us, is shared.

In the case of religion perhaps, there is a desire to see the Universe as displaying a level of intention, of consciousness. A desire for the Universe to, like each of us, have an identity and a personality. Where in science, there is, perhaps, less of this.

(Although speaking with people in ecology and evolution is fascinating. For some of them, any and all observations, immediately merit speculation as to why and sweeping generalizations about the nature of the nature of life. Large conceptual jumps are made to the point where the conclusions are like "Just So" stories, origin myths, or creation myths. This seems to happen to a much greater extent than their colleagues in more reductionist branches of Biology who are bound by the demands of controlled reproducibility.)

Mind you, I have little success at making sense of it, myself. But I do feel the yearning for some understanding of the world around me and my place in it, a desire for a purpose and a sense of belonging. As a self-confessed superstitious person, I look for signs.

When I stand at the train platform, I think to myself that at that moment the City is either working with me or not. In moments when the subway doors open right in front of me, it is confirmation that the City is working with me. And in moments that it doesn't, clearly, the City is not.

Of course, it is more likely that the City is always uncooperative. Added to that, in actuality the positions along the platform where the subway doors open are pretty consistent. They have to do with the length of each car and the relative position of each door on the car and so on. Fate and the mysterious hand of the Universe have nothing to do with it.

I could figure out exactly where the doors will open for each car of a subway just by lining them up to key landmarks at each stop. And then the City would always appear to be working with me. Or more precisely, I would be working with it.

It is only a sign because I am looking for signs and am too lazy to approximate subway door positions relative to subway platform landmarks at the stops that I frequent.

But I digress. Yesterday, while walking home, I started to think about all my stuff. In particular about things that I have lost, tossed or left behind.

I lose things all the time. Clothes, books, CD's, money, time, boyfriends, friends, memories, documents, umbrellas. I used to lose my keys all the time (knock on wood). Sometimes they are misplaced. Sometimes they are left behind. Sometimes they grow legs and walk away.

In moving away from CU, I got rid of many things. I sold them or just threw them away. There was no time, I had no space. It was what had to happen. It was just heartbreaking.

In moving to New York, I brought two suitcases and a backpack. My parents drove out a few times and brought me things. A winter coat. A TV. Ten boxes of chicken flavored ramen. Twenty cans of creamed corn. And in living here I have accumulated some things - books, skincare products, socks, a CD here and there. There are days, though, that I miss my stuff. I forget the days that I spent in my overstuffed super cluttered place feeling oppressed by all the things that had no place, and me with no time to use them. They all sat around and reminded me of the things that I wasn't doing and the life that I wasn't living. Physical souvenirs of longing and regret. But oh, what a glorious life it would have been.

The other day, I discovered the loss of an entire email account containing ten years of emails from Grad School.

Before that, I had my computer hard drive at work catastrophically crash. Nothing was recovered. And my machine's contents were not backed up anywhere. Over a year of information and templates and archived documents and emails - gone. They were files that represented what I had done and learned in my first year in the corporate world. And the entire email correspondence between me and The South which I am sad to have lost.

I let the LYM use my phone with his SIM card which wiped some aspects of the memory of my phone. So I lost cute text messages from friends and my call record.

The desire to keep everything is combination of a poor memory and sentimentality and while I am loathe to admit it, perhaps a little stinginess too.

I think the Universe is trying to shove me out of dwelling on the past and into moving forward. Out of potential and into action.

What matters in the end is not what you have or how much of it you have. What matters is having what you need and having enough of what you need. The root of that is figuring out what you need, how much is enough, and how to go about getting it.

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