Spontaneity used to rule my plans in the first few years after leaving school.
And at the time, I liked it that way.
A friend could just turn up on your doorstep & say you were going out. Within reason, it didn’t really matter what the time was either.
Adventures were all that awaited.
One night in particular, a friend and I drove to another friend’s place. The two of us soon became a group of six. We had three other rendezvous’ before we all ended up camping out in a paddock.
I was sharing a picnic blanket with someone else. We couldn’t sleep. And at risk of sounding like a cringe worthy cliché – we were looking up at the stars. Soaking up the mystery braided in the night sky.
“Which star do you like the most?” I asked.
They paused. I waited.
I can’t actually remember what I said back straight away at the time. Actually, I don’t think I said anything initially.
But I remember what the star looked like. It was the brightest one in the sky.
Its illumination dwarfing the darkness and other stars that surrounded, a few of which could only muster a flicker in comparison.
I wondered why they picked that one.
Out of all the stars in the sky, why their eyes were drawn to it.
So I asked.
And then they replied.
I know there’s a few things that can contribute to how much light a star emits, but isn’t one of them proximity? It could just be that it is the brightest because it is closer to us than the others.
Those others, the barely flickering ones – weren’t obvious. Maybe they were further away. Maybe not.
But, they were there.
I shared a conversation with someone recently, and I couldn’t help but think back to that night in the paddock.
Long story short – they were unhappy with their circumstance, and had been for a while.
There were a number of things they would like to make happen in their life, and they’d currently been presented with two opportunities.
One, was an easy transition from their current situation but not related to what they wanted to make happen, while the second was more complex but directly related.
They wanted to take the second, but couldn’t bring themselves to do it.
So I asked why.
And then they replied.
“I’m settled here. I’d have to move if I took the second opportunity. And it might not work out.”
What if, like stargazing, we are attracted to the brightest, most obvious light in the sky?
What if, those lights that are further away, barely flickering, are actually bigger stars?
Just not close enough for us to view their light on an even canvas.
Too risky to gamble on deciding if they could outdo the brighter light that is already in the sky.
I thought back to that paddock. To that blanket we were lying on.
After they’d pointed out which star they liked, we were back to lying in silence.
They turned their head towards mine.
“Which one would you choose?”