I’ve been reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac and came across a couple sentences that caught my attention. As Dean, Sal, and Marylou drive west from New Orleans, Sal’s mind wanders through memories of his cavalier adventures. Sal (an autobiographical portrayal of Kerouac himself) goes on narrating that if it weren’t for his failing memory, he’d be able to recount those tales in more detail:
Ah, but we know time. Everything takes care of itself. I could close my eyes and this old car would take care of itself.
It’s both freeing and excruciating that everything will eventually take care of itself. I think the scary parts come in knowing that the inevitable isn’t a constant. If Sal closed his eyes, the inevitable could find that old car in a ditch. With his eyes open, the same could happen but most likely they would get to San Francisco safely.
We tend to battle with the inevitable. Without realizing that we aren’t in full control of it nor are completely removed from having an impact on how things end up, we drive our lives. If you close your eyes, your life will take care of itself. If you map out your life’s details, a different inevitable may—but by no guarantee—happen.
Every morning we have the option to shift the odds of what’s inevitable to something greater. No action or direction will be sure to happen. No level of control will stop bad things from eclipsing you or create every opportunity you hope for. But I believe we can lead what’s around us to take better care of itself. The great things we create, the people in our lives we care for, and the push we make to endure when we aren’t at our best helps build a place so that when “everything takes care of itself”, we can feel a little more comfortable that the care we invested will take care of us.