Slip Slidin’ Away


“You know the nearer your destination the more you’re slip slidin’ away,” said the Bard of New York, Paul Simon. I first heard the song on my car radio in 1978, driving out of Gate 8 of the Naval Academy, having just paid off my [for those times] staggering grad school loan debt, feeling a great sense of relief and accomplishment…only to realize that I, like the woman in the song, was still “think(ing) of things that might have been.” I advise against dwelling on the road(s) not taken, since, as the song says, it is highly correlated with having a “bad day.”

This morning’s woodland adventure featured the more literal form of slip slidin’ away, since it had bucketed rain last night, and I had chosen the least non-slip of my 3 pairs of Wellington boots. I was reminded of a walk two years ago, just before flying off to Detroit [long story] to take the California Board of Psychology licensing exam, and thinking, “Boy, this would be a highly inconvenient day to take a serious tumble in these unfrequented woods.” Didn’t fall, made the flight, passed the test, got the license, still no nearer the destination of living on the Other Coast. This afternoon, I am flying Over There, to see not one but two daughters [since the Chicago-based one is moving to San Francisco this summer]; and the same thought occurred to me, in a particularly steep & muddy patch of the path: “What if I fall down [and brake my crown, with Lili tumbling after]?”

See, this is a Locus of Control meditation. To what degree are we destined to fall, move West, have kids, join the Navy? [You know, whatever.] My own limbic system is pre-set to fear that I will take the “wrong” road, get lost, wind up at a deadend. So, I often choose to believe that I have no choice [to cut down on all that anger-mediated-cortisol, nar’mean?]. The price I pay, though, is to endure the intrusion of An External Plan-Maker’s Agenda on me. What am I, Fate’s plaything? [Oops! Cortisol.]

Got to dash, now [Southwest and tide wait for no person, as it were]; but ponder a bit on the next Big Fork in the Road you’re facing, and notice whether you attempt to shift the onus of the decision onto Someone Else. [You car’s SatNav, your horoscope, the I Ching, what your Loved Ones really want you to do without actually telling you point blank…]

Incidentally, this picture was taken on the first day after the big snow melted, and doesn’t really look like the inches of oozing mud we slogged through today. “But what was I to do? It was the only picture I had with any mud in it.” [She said, externalizing the locus of control again…]

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Filed under limbic system, locus of control

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