Driving to work, early morning, and the bright Spring sun dazzles her. At first she shades her eyes with her hand, then, realising the impracticality of doing this and continuing to drive, she pulls down the eye-shade, and suddenly and oddly surprisingly, her world is transformed. The traffic signal ahead remains the same steadfast red that it had been a moment ago, during her bedazzlement, but now with the serious advantage of shade, it seems to be better defined and easier to identify.
Of course, nothing has changed in reality. The act of slotting the eye-shade into place has merely allowed her to better perceive her world. Was it caffeine deprivation or genius realisation? Who knows? Either way, the significance of this sudden flash of understanding of how perception is everything leaves her untypically at a loss for words.
Embarking on a voyage of self-discovery is a combination of blessing and curse in varying ratios and quantity. Much introspection is required — self-examination, self-questioning, self-doubt… even sometimes eventual self-proclamation. The arduous overhaul required in order to sort out the tangled mess of feelings, philosophies, needs and requirements that hide themselves deep within the psyche, refusing to stand up and be counted without a good bout of batch processing, can be too much for some. (And even more so for those who often associate with those some people — the tedium of hearing a conversation that begins “I discovered… I feel… I now know…” can, without due care and diligence, alienate even the closest of friends.)
It’s a matter of time, place, availability, consideration and thought. A mature attitude always helps. And the ability to take responsibility for one’s actions even more so. Although there are those who would argue that true friends, even if alienated, do not stray far, and will always come back. A bit like bad pizza. Personally, I stand by that. The tired maxim about setting something free to see if it ever truly loved you is only tired because it bears repeating that often.
We live in a world of no real absolutes, but a strong undercurrent of tendency to adhere to them as if they truly existed. We impose upon ourselves absolute standards, according to how others perceive us — or to be more accurate, how we would like to be perceived. Rare is the person who says “I don’t give a fuck what people think of me,” and means it all the way down deep into the darkest and most secret recesses of their soul.
And yet we expect love to be absolute — and indeed make every effort to make it so, proving that, when it comes to ourselves, there is nothing that cannot be achieved, if approached in the most effective manner.
Life is hard. Being an adult is fucking hard. But being an adult has its own rewards, which is what makes it worthwhile. It’s simply a question of how you look at things — by allowing the sun to dazzle us instead of warming us through and enlightening us, we are clearly missing out a valuable section of the picture.
So there you have it. Use an eye-shade, it’s the new “42”. And that’s an absolute.