Knowing isn’t everything

So I know this person who always wants me to tell her how things end. If she hears that I’ve seen a particular movie or read a certain book, she isn’t interested in knowing whether I thought it was any good or if I’d recommend it. Instead she wants a full account of the plot and to know if I’d describe the story as ‘nice’.

I’ve never understood her logic, and as someone who enjoys the experience of watching a movie or reading a book without necessarily knowing the storyline, well I find her whole attitude bewildering. What’s the point in knowing precisely how everything unfolds and how it’s all going to end BEFORE you decide to watch a film or read a book? Personally I think that having a complete (or even partially complete … GRRR spoilers) prior knowledge can detract from the entire experience, and therefore has the potential to make it less enjoyable.

Knowing the end isn't everything

The other thing that makes no sense to me is her decision to only watch or read things that are ‘nice’. From what I’ve been able to determine, her definition of nice basically means the story needs to have a happy ending with no loose ends, that no characters should die, and that things should never get too real, too sad, or too gritty. That seems more than a little restrictive to me.

I can’t imagine a life without surprises or exposure to a full range of emotions, and that’s the same when it comes to books, movies, TV shows … and pretty much everything. Sure, not knowing everything may sometimes be uncomfortable or challenging, but taking a journey into the unknown or into the realm of the not so ‘nice’, can also be exhilarating and you know … maybe just a little bit fun. Isn’t life too short to know all the answers before you even begin?

Journey in a life

pathforest.jpgThere is one ultimate truth that we all must accept. Just as we are born, we must also die. The first experience is not something we can concern ourselves with, but the second is different; it’s something which is always lurking out there in front of us. This is not meant to be a depressing statement; rather it should be used for inspiration when the intricacies of life threaten to bury us under their combined weight.

In our lives we are faced with abundant choices that sometimes overwhelm us and cause us to overcomplicate our lives. We tend to forget that the real experience of life is to be found in living life for ourselves.

There are so many people out there lining up to tell us how we should live our lives. The government would like us to fulfill certain places in our society, managers tell us how to do our jobs, teachers tell us what we should learn, parents tell us what type of people we should be and the media tells us what we all should be. We are told how we should make lots of money to be happy, what we need to spend all the money on to be happier and how we should tow the company line to keep the world on an even keel.

roller.jpgOf course life is never going to be easy. However sometimes it’s good to appreciate life’s ups and downs as this way you know that you’ve truly lived. What’s the fun in travelling on a roller coaster that travels straight ahead at the same speed with no bumps, turns or loops? I don’t know about you, but I love the roller coasters that scare the hell out of me, I want plenty of speed, tight bends, loop-d-loops, turns and quick drops. By experiencing the extremes for myself I can directly feel the pain or joy that those experiences cause. Mediocrity is a terrifying prospect.

Taking the road less travelled is often thought to be a good philosophy to apply to life. For me though I say don’t take the road at all. Go places that no one else has been, do things that no one else has done and take away memories that no one else can have. Don’t choose a life where you are defined by your possessions, your job or your social standing, choose a life of rich experiences, vivid memories and evocative stories.

Life is inevitably defined by our choices, so make a decision to strap your metaphorical machete to your back, head out your front gate and don’t look back. Perhaps take the road for a while if you need to, but when you’re ready, and you’ll know when this is, step off the road and use your machete to cut down any overhanging branches that threaten to block your way. Now your life is your own and you can really start to live.