I’m still edging towards getting this topic moving properly. But I think I’m at least getting a handle on how to approach the “Consequences” part of it. The Consequences element (if you remember all the way back to when I first trailed it) is about how life branches from certain identifiable points, leading to considerations of “what if” and “the road not taken”.
I’m looking at Consequences under three categories. I like categorising and compartmentalising things as a way of breaking the subject down into mangeable chunks, so let’s see if this helps me to explain myself.
Here are the categories:
1. Chance – the decisions you didn’t know were decisions, the things you didn’t even notice happening at the time but which, looking back, were critical in defining the direction life would take. These could be perceived as good or bad, “if only….” or “thank goodness….”.
2. Choice – Fellow-blogger Opher wrote a neat post on this a few weeks ago that illustrates the point nicely, where the choice of whether or not to take a job offer created a significant branch point. We all look at certain decisions, whether personal or professional, and wonder what would have happened if we’d made the other choice. Would life have been better or worse, or just different?
3. Catastrophe – sudden loss – bereavement or unlooked-for separation. I’ve been very fortunate in life so far, and never had to deal with this but I have friends who have experienced this kind of life-altering change, and I’ll talk about it with them as much as they want or need. But this feels like something that one shouldn’t speculate idly on in a blog without having experienced it.
I can, though, illustrate it through talking about fictional representations, and I’ll do that in a post soon on the recent film 45 Years.
I’m planning to post on each of these categories over the next week or two, and I’m interested in exploring how much there’s a “nature versus nurture” aspect in some of them – personality plays a part in how someone reacts to the circumstance they’re presented with, but the circumstance also dictates how the person reacts and what they’re asked to react to.
So I’m still not sure where this thread will go, but hopefully it will be interesting finding out.