The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to burn and which to cross…
– David Russell
Very often in life there comes this point in life where one is faced with choices. Every day. Some easy, some that make you squirm, some welcome, others drastic and overwhelming, some earth shattering and others that are pleasant and necessary. And then there are these dichotomies that are not really a choice, because there is no question of one in such cases, because one already knows the answer even without having to contemplate. Because it’s not a choice, it is a question of the essence of one’s entity. I should know. I have made a few. Not necessarily easy ones. But life told me later they were most definitely the right ones. Not to say I didn’t commit a few blunders on the way and I am afraid I will continue to make some more before my body lays down to rest in my grave. But then I shall be burnt to ashes- and here I stop rambling and being macabre because that is most definitely another story and besides the point.
So yes, I wonder about choices. Especially in relationships or about them or is that the same thing? And when I say relationships, I beg you to think beyond the only type that pops up in our minds- the ‘romantic love’ types. There are others to talk about beyond that. Not too long ago, I made unconsciously or in stupor a precocious choice that put one of my most precious friendships on the line, of course not a planned oversight. However, cursed with a conscience, pretense wasn’t my resort. I had made a distinct choice between risking it all for honesty or having an untouched uncontaminated and hypocritical paradise filled with uninformed choices. What do you think I chose? I am proud to say that I chose the former instead of folding. And I harbor no regrets for it…. Consequences whatever they came thereafter.
Then there is the curse of hateful relatives which makes you wonder very often about your own lineage, something you can’t shake. One makes a choice between a hostile peace or a clean break which would bring little good. What does one choose? And then I watched a friend (or something more) suffer the pangs of a broken heart. And there arises the argument of the shelf life of a relationship of the romantic variety. Yes there it is, inevitably! When does know when and if it is the time to stop hoping that things will change? Why do these relationships end? How is it that one day someone you were so much in love with suddenly doesn’t fit in your scheme of things- the larger picture? The ambiguity of the larger picture often frustrates the average man. Only human. But then when does one know when it is the time to ‘let go’, whether to make a clean break or not. How does one know what should be salvaged and what ignored and forgotten?
In situations where equations shared were pleasant but circumstantial differences drift you apart, the bridges are harder to burn. Practicality often fails one in the face of this sort of an adversity. But more often than not a clean incision is what is called for and should be executed. In other paradigms, where the equation was not worth saving anyway, it’s swift and easy. And better best forgotten. However, the trouble as it always does comes from within and not the exterior. One can wear a million masks hiding away the vulnerable self-shelled and fortified or so one would like to think. But unfortunately one is lying only to oneself. Stoicism plays its part and a sense of humor to take everything with a pinch of salt helps but the repression of sentiment that needs to be dealt with somehow has the side effect of affecting all future interactions. An open and shut case of once bitten twice doubly shy in all circumstances. The effects may or may not be far reaching…
Coming back to bridges now,(I think I lost the plot somewhere in the middle like I do sometimes) I often think that it is not about whether you cross a bridge or burn one, but being able to accept and to live with that choice.Predestination and free will-eternal argument. For life has taught me that the sooner we realise that only we hold the keys to our own happiness, the choices will come easy, we will forgive ourselves and others more easily, and be like steady water like the river that flows to inevitably meet the ocean in the end-steadfast and self-assured. Each one of us part of the grand design.