There’s a place, or maybe it’s a time in our lives, where we enter unexplored territory. The dark reaches of our known universe where the light of our experiences and knowledge no longer shines. They show up as unfamiliar streets in cities we’ve never been. They can reveal themselves as choices we are faced with, responsibilities that we have no idea how we got placed in charge of. They can be life after the loss of a loved one, death of a beloved family member, or a divorce. We look around and we no longer recognize the place in which we find ourselves.
So, what do we do?
We keep going.
That part I can’t answer. The reason for going forward into the deep, unknown darkness is different for everyone. I like to think that we as a species are somehow possess a strange predilection for exploration and adventure. We see the maw of the abyss ahead of us, we understand our fleeting time on this planet, and instead of laying down, curling up, and dying, we choose to push on beyond our known limits, into unfamiliar territory.
This is where human beings are truly special. Visionaries and mavericks that pushed our species forward, almost by accident. DaVinci, Einstein, Musk; these are names often associated with people whose ideas have changed the shape of human understanding of their potential. Scientists and thinkers whose daring imaginations pushed into the sublime darkness of what could be and charted a course forward for all mankind. But we mistake these types of individuals for rare creatures. They are not.
Each of us faces the darkness of our own understanding and experience in our lives. The student, leaving home to start their first semester of university, or College, living away from home for their first time, overseeing their life to some degree and staring down the highway of their future, this individual is confronting the Unknown, as surely as any intrepid explorer. The first-time parents, new baby home, mother recovering, father doting, and both trying to figure out what’s next. All the advice and parenting books in the world cannot prepare them for the rest of their lives. They, most of all, understand the immensity of standing of the precipice of all that they have known their whole lives and stepping off into the vastness of uncharted territory. A journey from which they cannot turn back.
Throughout life we are all presented with choices, and if we are disciplined, mindful, and more than a little lucky, we will get to one day look around and realize that we have broken the gravity of our pasts and taken the first steps into the adventure of our lives. We break the prescribed timeline of the conditions of our birth, we snap the tension wire of abuse and addiction that holds us back, we choose to do the right things day, after day, after day, until one day we realize that we have come so far from where we have started, that the light of our home Sun is just a pinhole of light on the horizon. We are in a new place. We may even be a new creature. Who knows?
“Highway,” is about this type of life journey. Continuing forward, even though we don’t know where we are. Sometimes so far past our experience that we don’t know how to plan for the future. This is remedied, of course. There are others out there. Other strange and curious explorers who have also broken free of who they were and sought who they might become. One of the odd things about human beings is that we are so rarely alone. We are so seldom lost. When we look around, eventually we’ll see someone else, trying to figure out where they are in this universe, just as we are.
We are all, “Children of The New Unknown.”
(Please forgive the shameless book plug. I couldn’t resist.)
If you have any feedback about this write up, or “The Highway,” please feel free to leave a comment.
Thank you, as always for your time.