Friday, February 20, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - the chancy nature of history

"America was discovered accidentally by a great seaman who was looking for something else; when discovered it was not wanted; and most of the exploration for the next fifty years was done in the hope of getting through or around it. America was named after a man who discovered no part of the New World. History is like that, very chancy." ~ Samuel Eliot Morison

I took the subway home today, tired and a little nervous about my upcoming trip this weekend. Usually when I look up at the ads in the New York subway, I see one for a podiatrist, another for some sort of alcohol, and another that tells me if I adjust for inflation, I am actually paying less for a subway ride than I did in the 1980s. Today, I glanced up and saw the quote above by Samuel Eliot Morison. I thought about that last line "history is like that, very chancy" all the way home.

History is chancy. We meet someone by chance who changes our lives. We move somewhere that we never imagined living and that dramatically changes the direction of our paths. We pick up a hobby to have something to do and it becomes far more than a hobby. I look back at the course of my life and I am amazed by the twists and turns it's taken. At 18, when I was first leaving home, I never imagined the path I've taken.

It's the excitement of change, of not knowing what comes next, that gets me up in the morning - it's the looking forward, the anticipation, the hope that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. Truthfully, I can't even guess at what's around the bend. And I don't think anyone else can either.

Change can be frightening, stressful, and intimidating. To stay brave in the face of the constant change that is all around us, I try to make it into a game. No matter what happens, I do try to remind myself that this is all learning, that someday it will all make sense, and I remember that really this life is all about chance - how well you weigh the odds, where you place your bets, and how much courage you have to keep trying.

The above images can be found at:

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