What’s Going to Happen Next?
When you don’t know what’s coming, that’s exciting.
I’ve been starting (and stopping) books lately and haven’t found one that I’m dying to get back to. That’s about the only criteria I need to enjoy a book. I want to know what’s going to happen, I care enough about a character to continue reading to learn more, I’m curious.
I opened one last night that I couldn’t put down. I know it’s good when I wake up and reach for it. It’s that little delight of sneaking something, like a cookie. Just one little bite. Just one more chapter. I’ll use the book light, that won’t wake anyone up. Deep under the covers, the sun is just peeking up and there’s a glow in the curtained windows. A chill enough in the early morning air to stay in bed. Not a peep in the house. Not even the dog is awake. OK, now where were we? Ah yes, they met at the garage behind Tuck’s house. After 20 years of not seeing each other. Here we go …
If you don’t read, how do you “travel”?
I can’t imagine a (fulfilling, complete) life without books or at least stories. I don’t even care about the subject matter, just that I’m intrigued. I don’t want to be a high-powered attorney–but I love reading about them. I want my curiosity piqued. I love to spend the day wondering what’s going to happen next in a book–then the thrill of reading more at night. I want to “travel” to where the characters are in books. I don’t need to go to all of those places and I certainly don’t need to “be” all of those people, but that’s the beauty–and the power–of story. You get to do it as often as you turn the next page.
They’re closely related: travel and stories. You don’t know what’s going to happen next.
When you open a book, you don’t know what you’re going to get. Same thing when you step out of your front door: who knows what will happen. If you stay home and never leave, you know exactly what will happen (sneak peak: not much).
If you don’t travel, how do you “live”?
When I say travel, I don’t only mean exploring the narrow streets of Venice. I honestly mean just stepping out of your front door and opening the possibilities that taking that step brings. You’re free to call it whatever you want (adventure, lifestyle, risk), but travel is easiest to understand and yes, it usually involves physically going someplace other than where you are.
Travel is just taking a step. Lots of travel is taking lots of steps.
We did a study in philosophy class about immortality. At first, everyone thought it’d be great to live forever. The more we dug into it, the less exciting it became. At some point, it seemed almost like a prison sentence. In fact, the prison analogy came up quite often: everything became routine, known, the same. Quite a bit like Groundhog Day. You knew exactly what was going to happen next. It was a nightmare.
If a book is like that, you’ll probably put it down. If travel is like that, you’ll probably go home. What if your life is like that?
- Establish career. Do that until you retire.
- Buy house. Plan to live there forever.
- Make a chart of every day for the rest of your life.
- Check! Done! Ready?
- Now shoot me.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t plan. I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay the mortgage but rather that you should scamper off to Thailand and eat $1 curry every day and do yoga. I’m saying leave a chapter until tonight. Live with a little curiosity for the day. You want to know what’s going to happen? You’ll know soon enough. Relish the curiosity. Wonder what might happen. Live as though you might not know what tomorrow will bring–even if you probably do. But it’s possible you don’t.