A few days ago, as I was making use of the sun’s rare appearance–after a typically extensive Pittsburgh winter–I walked on down to what’s known as The Point: where the inner city congregates to a “point” and meets the three rivers its surrounded by. It’s quite a nice area, with trees and greenery, ample places to sit and reflect, lamps that look like those dentist mirrors to see what lurks behind your teeth.. and as such, guys, gals, geese and gulls seemed to share the same idea as me: to give the body a brisk stretch and be reminded of the sun’s warm rays–but not so much their next visit to the tooth surgeon.
As I made a couple of loops of the designated walkways, my feet, but more so, my mind, as it so often does, began to wander. I was reminded of part of a comedian’s routine when my eyes became drawn to the numerous shadowed shapes that lay strewn across the ground, not least, people’s own shadows. I remember the comedian commenting, somewhat frustratingly on the sun’s behalf–all for comedic effect–about how far the sun’s rays have travelled, only for their final destination–the earth’s surface–to be blocked by some kind of inanimate object: a park bench, a table, a dentist-mirror-lamp-thing. Sure, it wasn’t side-splitting, but it presented an interesting point all the same.
Think about that for just one second. Our sun–the primary source of energy for all life–lies approximately 93 million miles away from this planet we call home. The rays of light we see when our shining star decides to put his hat on for the day (as the popular nursery rhyme goes), essentially, takes just over eight minutes to reach our atmosphere due to it travelling at the speed of light–a rate of knots measured at 186,282 miles per hour, per second. To put that into perspective (thanks space.com), if us mere humans could travel at that speed, we’d be able to circle the globe 7.5 times in just one second.
And yet, as spectacular as that is, and as mind-blowing as those numbers are, some light is only ever destined to be turned into darkness, by way of a shadow. It was at this moment, I applied that same thought to my own, and potentially, other people’s lives. After all, here I am, nearly a year after graduating, in the process of calculating which direction I want to turn, which fork-in-the-road I want to take, which life I want to create for myself.
You see, for me, the shadows I saw that day represented the stumbling block–sometimes writers block–I find myself in now. Whilst I’ve succeeded in what I set out to do up until this point–much like the sun rays’ interstellar journey until their inevitable disappointment–I’m not entirely sure where I want to head, what I want to do, and, once I do know, how I’m going to get there.
These are thoughts I’m sure many of us have had at some stage or another. I don’t expect mine will cease any time soon, but that isn’t something I’m concerned about. I honestly believe they’re healthy thoughts to have. They keep my conscience fresh, my cerebral cortex whirring, and my head, as level as it can be. At least, that’s what my brain is telling me to tell itself. Ahem.
So while I may feel “stuck” at this current point in time (dreaming of glue of all things last night by the way), not knowing exactly where I’m heading, both in the short and long-term, or even if I’ll be living in this great United States for much longer, I’d do well to remember that my final destination will present itself in time. And in that time, I’m almost certain the shadow of my uncertainty will begin to waver, and the light of my purpose will begin to shine. But most importantly, I must also remember, that sometimes, it’s the journey of getting to that end, like the hyperspaced voyage of the sunbeams we may soon see a lot more of, that encompass the most adventure, and experiences, of all.