What if we explore a possibility in 2017?

 

We spend our lives closing doors and narrowing our perspectives, making our world smaller, channelling our destiny. And, on the way, we leave behind many lives that we shall never live, many possibilities that are never realised. 

The choices that determine us are undertaken very early on. For instance, humanities or science? This disjunction forever closes up many possible lives. What sort of person would we be if our choice had been the opposite? How many possible lives are left unlived? 

It’s hard for us to imagine all that is unexplored; all that is left aside or behind us. What other lives are possible? What can we do that we never do? What is our box of possibilities? If we stop to think about it, each and every one of us is immense. 

Many of these possible things will never be done because conventions, what is expected of us, or a certain pessimistic fatalism prevents us from creating or even thinking that a different way of doing things is possible. 

And yet, life continues to offer you constant disjunctions. Like an enormous mental map that opens up to infinity. For me, maturity offered the opportunity to rewrite my life, redefine my role, live adventures, discover or rediscover that I too could be creative, open doors that were closed long ago, perhaps during childhood –that time when everything was possible because everything still had to be written. Suddenly, I felt capable of exercising muscles that I had long thought lost or with regards to which I had told myself the wrong story: ‘I have the memory of a goldfish,’ ‘I’m not creative’... You say these things and end up believing them and so your reality becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And you place so many locks on these doors that they end up going rusty from not being opened ever. 

As in Benedetti’s poem, we have to open those locks, unbolt and dare move those heavy doors, listen to the creak of the hinges from lack of use, and finally the clarity of a new and much more beautiful reality, and the certainty that beyond lie many more doors to be open, and that each of them leads to many new possibilities, and so on, to infinity. 

You must undo your worn road, what the world or society expects of you in that moment, in order to bet on your own road, which isn’t always straight or rising, but sometimes goes backwards or twists in sharp curves, crosses the countryside or stops at unsettling crossroads. 

I believe in this maxim: if we can imagine it and verbalise it, we can do it. But our imagination is also rusty. Our education, the world, the system, the routines, the automatisms. Everything seems designed to strip us of the only really valuable weapon that we have to survive in the uncertain future where machines will do almost every job. Our creaking imagination, hidden behind a heavy door that we closed a long time ago. Once open, we will find infinite possibilities to what seemed like an only road. How many bifurcations will we find just by asking ourselves ‘what if...’? 

We are closing up a year that has seemed sponsored by Murphy’s law, during which all that could go wrong has gone wrong. My proposal is for us to reopen those doors that appear to have been closed on us, with the certainty that there is a turning back, that we can –and perhaps we even must– doubt, rectify, undo, re-walk. How does life change if you dare to swerve? 

What if in 2017 we open doors, explore possibilities, and clean the rust off all that we stopped exercising long ago?

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