Nothing looks complicated from a distance. Look out from a mountain across fields, cities, or suburbs and everything seems neatly arranged into patterns and clean lines. But come closer and life is far from orderly and complete.
On the one hand, so much is simple. You don’t need to fool around with elaborate algebra to work, commute, be part of a family, and keep a home.
Yet, like so much about being a grown up, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Sure, you can live on the surface, never going further than getting your feet wet. But you are not that kind of person (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this).
You know how incredibly complicated things can get. Seemingly innocent situations can get out of hand and pretty soon, the most basic of misunderstandings can blow out of all proportion.
Like when your brother-in-law, Herb (a good name for a brother in law, I think) drops by unannounced to borrow the lawnmower and while helping himself to your kitchen cabinet (don’t worry, there is no connection), smashes your favorite cup.
Now of course this isn’t much. A clumsy bloke rummaging through your cupboard doing what a bull does in china shops. Except that it was your very favorite mug that you suddenly feel incredibly sentimental about (now that it’s scattered into tiny fragments all over the floor). But little things add up.
“Doncha have anything good in your pantry to eat? I’m starving.” “Oh, and don’t worry about that old cup. I’ll pick up the pieces later after I’ve done with the mower”.
Irritating as Herb is, you can cope. But now there’s someone bashing at the front door (wanting to sell you stuff), whilst your youngest has rushed into the kitchen and is now screaming because her bare feet are cut and bleeding.
That’s when your phone goes and the dog got in and starts licking up blood (which is altogether gross), and from then on things only get worse.
At these times, simplicity looks all the more inviting as we hanker for a life with just the right amount of excitement, contentment, and predictable bliss.
Yet, the unexpected has to be factored in. Despite our plans people get sick, fail to front, don’t appreciate you (or your time), and stuff-ups have a way of just happening.
Add our wild and fickle feelings to the mix and there are layers of considerations to everything (excluding the very thing we are meaning to do), and you can see how complicated life can be.
Whilst Swiss watches are prized for their complications, people with a career and family, and home to manage tend to prize simplicity wherever they can find it. Why? Because complications feature as problems and who wants them?
How fitting then that a subject about intricacies is itself difficult to decipher? What is hard for one is child’s play for another. Plus, everyone’s threshold for complexities varies enormously (and we haven’t even dared to wander into the minefield of misunderstandings).
A techie nerd might be fine delving into the complex realms of computing but flounder over his co-worker’s tactless put downs. Meaning, coping strategies and aptitudes factor in. And, because nothing quite works the same way it did yesterday, the novelty of each situation comes into play.
So would you banish Herb from the house, feed him to the dog, chase him with the mower, or choose something else gentle? Maybe he needs to realize how thick he is and that it’s time he grew up enough to be a help, not a hindrance. Either way, you know it’s going to be complicated.
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