“How it looks at the end of the day will be the determiner of how effective the changes were. It’s the historical perspective that appropriately labels big changes. History defines the major cultural movements and global shifts of consciousness, along with the pivotal decisions made during that time period.” (quoted as some nameless voice on some media device heard on this day)
I was thinking about this very thing this morning when I heard a speaker discussing the importance of our present time period and how we cannot even see that importance from our present mind-state because defining that importance will only be seen in the aftermath of the situation. In other words, this day itself cannot be determined to be good or bad based on a single moment within the day, it is only “at the end of the day” that we can assess the day’s affect, for better or worse, on our lives.
And likewise it is only at the end of our life that we can decide how well we lived it. Potential means nothing if not realized. Potential means only “might have been,” and who wants to reach the end of life thinking like that?
I can look at my own “might have beens” and ponder the paths not taken, or the stumbles recouped from or the sudden obstacles that changed my direction completely. I can do my own set of “if onlys” if I wanted to—we all can. But we are where we are right now because of choices made at any past moment that seemed like the very best choice made for our own wellbeing considering our mental, physical, and emotional stability at the time. We did what we felt was the RIGHT THING to do whenever that was, for whatever reason we felt outweighed all the other reasons to chose a different direction whether made through avoidance of immediate or future punishment, or the promise of immediate or future rewards.
“Two roads diverged” in the present of our existence and in the multi-verse we took them both simultaneously, but in the present-life path that we know we are living, we took only one and are now logging the escapades of our perilous journey. It is from that single-path vantage point that we can now look back on our life with assessments and critiques.
We can ponder the road not taken but we can’t know exactly what would have happened during our trekking over all the unforeseen potholes and jagged rocks lining that “other” road. We can only speculate, and not particularly well given the uncertainty of our existence.
I can look at my own life and say, “I might have been this or that” or “I might have done this or that,” but at the end of the day—I didn’t. “And that,” according to Frost, “has made all the difference”, or has it made no difference at all? Was it two separate roads simply converging on the same destination (death) or was it two different possible destinations complete with two different likely outcomes?
At the end of the day, only each of us can decide that for ourselves.