A big nor’easter (high winds from the northeast) storm can be more disruptive than many hurricanes to the beach and to my old weathered beach cottage. Last year one brought some crab pots up to my dune grasses and then half buried them with sand. They add a nice atmospheric touch to it all, so I’m leaving them until another natural storm claims them.
For those readers who aren’t familiar with how crab pots do their job, which, of course, is to catch unsuspecting crabs, bait is put in the pots and crabs come in through an opening (which varies based on the species sought). There are various designs which all accomplish the same thing: they restrict the crabs from swimming back out. If crabs were to think by reasoning rather than instinct, I guess they’d wonder how and when they passed that invisible barrier.
It’s those invisible barriers that started me playing with the analogy of this headline. If you’ve not experienced any yet, let this be a forewarning guide. If you have, know you’re not alone and maybe you’ll relate to some of these insights.
I’ve naturally, effortlessly, always looked ahead more than being focused on, even aware of, the past. I have friends and family who enjoy and are appreciative of their traditions, their sweet memories. It’s nice for them, comforting. I’ve just never related to that. I’ve not liked to browse through old photos or relive past, pleasant times. That often makes me feel kind of sad. Better for me to get on with it. I’m not judging either way, I’m just sharing.
I think the shutdowns of the pandemic and my self-imposed solitary confinement accelerated some changes though because for the first time, I’ve been meandering through my past a bit. I’ve also been setting some specific goals for myself and that’s different for me too. I think they’re connected.
I’ve fortunately been able to comfortably move forward from one enjoyable experience or challenge to another, never worrying about or even being aware of what’s behind — not in a hurry but seeing many things to do, new people to meet, not aware of any obstructions in my path. So why now? Where’s this reflection coming from?
At some point during the restrictions of the past few years, I’ve passed some of those invisible barriers. I’m aware there are experiences, activities, I’m unlikely to have again. Never thought of it that way before. And as I’m emerging into what amounts to a whole new journey, things look different. Much of the way I’ve lived just doesn’t fit anymore. So, to deal with that newly realized void, I’m setting specific goals to give me direction rather than wandering around aimlessly. I think for me (maybe for you, too) when the present is restricted and when I don’t have enough stuff to look forward to, I reminisce.
I’m not whining about this. I accept it. And I’ll adapt. I’m guessing I’ll inventory all I still have to work with, and there’s plenty for which I’m very thankful, then I’ll get on with it again. I think going through times of uncertainty is a necessary step to discover anything new, and I’ve always welcomed and embraced those times. I may have passed some invisible barriers but at least I’m not a crab. I still have choices. Living in this oh, so easy life in the 21st century in the U.S., I have more choices than anyone’s ever had.
Agree? Disagree? Brian Cole welcomes your viewpoints on his columns. He can be reached at Brian5995999@msn.com.