When things are hard, either for ourselves or the world around us, we can be found asking the question “How does one move on?” The question is rarely, do you have to move on, or what’s the point in moving on? The assumption is clear, this is what comes next. Move on.
Perhaps this “moving on” is merely symptomatic of a linear perception of time or some version of personal progress. A notion that the next thing will be better, that it is worth moving on towards. That we carry the lessons of the past, the things we move on from, into the moments ahead. That next time we will be wiser, smarter, kinder, better. That personal progress and some greater end result will make it all worthwhile. And without ever considering that an alternative exists, we move on.
But there are those dots on the horizon, people who dared to question the necessity and inevitability of moving on. It’s as if they came to a moment, or perhaps it was a series of moments, and the mirage of a better future was gone. Their past had shown them moment by moment, that nothing better, kinder, smarter or wiser was coming down the line. And without that vision ahead, they just let go; their hope in a future evaporated, and they lay themselves down.
People give up on moving on in different ways, but each looks a lot like death. Because the moving on, the not laying down on the path, breathing in dust and calling it a day, well that’s called living. And I am beginning to think we do not really want to become wiser, smarter, kinder, better; we want to find something easier. Because life is always hard, and easy always shimmers just out of reach.
It’s true that I have checked out the path, found some nice places to lie down, but I never actually stop. I never even want to, except for that one slippery moment. So perhaps I am one of the lucky ones. An unseen, unexplainable hand has determined who will move on and who will get stuck. I have been chosen to move on. But such a seemingly arbitrary decision makes me want to climb the tallest thing around, be it cactus or camel’s back, and scream into unseen. “What is the freakin’ plan here? What is the point if only some people move on? And why do you get to decide?”
Eventually I will climb back down, heart-weary and more than a little burnt. And I will know nothing more than I did before my tantrum. So I will go home, apply some aloe vera and sleep it off. And in the morning, when I get back to the path, I will move on. To the next moment, be it shitty or glorious, because somehow, for me, that’s not what really matters. It’s my response, an action, faith. In something wiser, smarter, kinder. Better.
Step 1: Take one step.