It may be the age I've reached, it may be due to years of quiet and contemplation. It was illuminated yesterday by a friend's recounting of hospital procedure-induced trauma and its aftermath. I know I am not who I once was.
In the uninformed ideal, at least my version of it, life had a trajectory without extended pauses or interruptions, diversions onto forgotten sidings, explosions, erosions and participation, not willing, in molecule-altering experiments. The things they don't tell you.
I could sense in my friend's narrative and the recent memory of a family member being pulled through a similar breach in the continuum that in each of them essential, cellular-level change had taken place, change that left them startled and disconnected. I am acquainted with startled and disconnected and misplaced. What I think I now know is that the plan had always been for adaptation and mutation. THAT was the assignment, not the slow evolution into upgraded versions of a self that remained mostly unchanged, only better. More worldly success, material dreams realized, embarrassing habits cured, nothing untidy remaining to be swept under the rug or shoved in the leaky dishwasher when company dropped by. Nothing we had to stop ourselves from trying to explain.
It is life, before books, before the theater, before movies, that requires the willing suspension of disbelief. One possible premise, one place to begin, is to assume that none of this is a hideous, irreparable cosmic mistake. The quantity of disbelief that needs to be suspended to reach that point can barely be calculated. Watching the Tony Scott-directed episode of NUMBERS the other night and staring with rapt incomprehension at the mathematical solutions to all conundrums reminded me that understanding the ways of numbers, along with time, is best left to the conjurer or identified genius. In my hands, time evaporates and numbers beyond a dozen or fewer zeros lose all meaning. Those of us who find our way by intuition, and forgive me if I over-generalize, cannot navigate by equations.
Why then does there seem to be no mechanism of preparation - coaching, to use a word and job description that cause me to frown - for the magnitude of change we will not escape? How are we to find peace in our mutant bodies with our altered states of existence? My life is not different from others in its list of the awful, scary, dangerous, unwanted, traumatic, sorrowful, discouraging, shaming, regretted, painful and how-did-I-survive-them? events. Each event takes us further from Point A, former comfort zone for a sunny outlook and a trust in calm waters, to wherever we are now, a complex and baffling locale, part Ayers Rock, part gulag, part comfy chair with a good reading light. We are here, where we glimpse the sacred, the familiar, yet know there will be no vessel returning to carry us home. Stranger still, we begin to recognize the illusion. Home is only here, only now. We have, once again, become the new version of us inhabiting what is now to be considered real.
Oddly, I found peace in yesterday's awareness. I find peace in anything that seems to tell me I haven't been doing it wrong. All wrong. Forever. Having identified so strongly with my friend's alterations I was given a different perspective. This is what happens to us all under pressure, in tight spots, after each apocalypse. By witnessing and comprehending the profound change we undergo as the result of events, I felt less isolated, less odd in my decades of involuntary cellular response to life being life. I felt I was taking my formerly strange self in and welcoming me home. I have so much to tell me.