Possibilities. The idea of what could be, might have been, or what was not. That’s what I’m afraid of, the whole wide realm of unknown that exists in that one ordinary word. It’s strange really. Who is afraid of a word? Yet the very cadence of it sends fear shivering up my spine. Take for example, a blankpage. Blank, begging for the touch of a pencil, the stroke of a pen. Blank, waiting to be filled with words, doodles, dreams. It’s a lot of pressure, really, placed on a single sheet of blank paper.
What about a day? Each morning begins with a wealth of possibilities. Is this a productive day or a lazy day? Will the sun shine or will the clouds take over? Perhaps this is the day that my life will crumble; perhaps this day the effort it takes to keep on living will overwhelm me. Perhaps this is the day that my life will suddenly make sense; perhaps this day will be a treasured memory. Possibilities.
The older I get the more possibilities frighten me. Every decision has a multitude of possibilities. There are a million avenues. Thousands of consequences to every move. I worry, am I making the right choices. Have I limited myself and the possibilities that are waiting for me to explore? I was recently told that I think in an abstract way rather than in a concrete way. I wondered what this person was thinking, clearly he didn’t know me well. Abstract things mystify and confuse me. Poetry is an abstract word form. The words to a poem seldom make sense to me. It’s as if an author strung together a sentence comprised of entirely random words. The very form of poetry itself allows for mangled spellings of common everyday and normally understood terms.
There is abstract art. Another form designed to befuddle the human brain. These renderings rarely resemble any inkling of the original. Even with the artist’s caption, it is nearly impossible to understand what possessed the person to create something so baffling. Possibilities?
I decided to do a little research. After all, I clearly am a concrete thinker. I deal only with clearly understood lines and literal translations. Abstract thinking leads to far too many possibilities and possibilities intimidate me. To my surprise, abstract thinking has nothing to do with unknowns. An abstract thinker is one who is able to reflect and understand that everything has a wide variety of possibilities. The very exploration of the word “possibilities” labels me as an abstract thinker. A concrete thinker only sees the here and now. They do not analyse each meaning but rather accept everything for face value. A concrete thinker looks at his dog lying on the rug at his feet and thinks, “I love my dog”. An abstract thinker looks at her dog lying on the rug at her feet and ponders, “I wonder if all dogs are so lovable”. My daughter is a perfect example of abstract thought. She asks questions like, “Why do we have skin?” and “Why are there so many different meanings to just one word?”
Now that I understand possibilities much better, I am not so frightened by them. I relish the idea of making one choice, one decision, using one possibility. After all, there are a thousand other possible paths to follow if the one I selected doesn’t work out from me. They may lead to something scary or, possibly, something fun and exciting.