(NOTE: I consider myself a good writer, but good only gets better by practice. So I’ve signed up for the WordPress Everyday Inspiration schedule to prompt me to write something different every day. This is the result of today’s nudge.)
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” – Robert Frost
There’s an inclination among many people to sum things up. We want to put a cap on things and take away some lesson from what we’ve just experienced, whether it’s an event we ourselves have been part, a larger political or societal moment or even the TV shows we watch or books we read.
That’s never sat quite right with me. I resist these sorts of bows that people try to apply to experiences. That’s because life goes on. This might be over and behind us, but we have to pick ourselves up and do life again tomorrow. And the day after that.
The impulse is understandable, I suppose. Wanting to learn from what’s come before is not a bad instinct. But trying to say “Well here’s what all of this means” is a narrow view of recent history. It wants to look at those lessons as having only been forged in the finite, distinct period being examined. It ignores, then, what came before that and what came after, both of which can change the outlook significantly. All of that adds context and additional potential lessons to learn that are otherwise lost.
Stop summing up, start learning as you go.