Last night, in a fit of laziness and familiarity, I tried to go down the steep back stairs in the dark rather than use a flashlight or turn on the light at the top of the stairs. At the bottom I missed the last step before the landing and narrowly missed creating a new door to the outside. Nothing broken, but it annoyed the knee, the ankle, and put more stress on my hip than anyone with osteo likes to contemplate. But still upright, as they say, and still breathing.
In thinking about that, I am once again reminded how quickly a single incident or misplaced focus can change our lives, sometimes forever. A fall on the ice, and you end up with a fractured hip. Turning right at a busy intersection you are rear ended by someone who is more interested in texting than driving, thereby shortcircuiting whatever was going to happen next and altering a great chunk of your life in the process. And his. Taking the corner on your favorite walk and see, coming toward you, someone from your distant past.
And, of course, there are those minor things we do that alter, at least on a temporary basis, the patterns we have sewn into our brain, like inner pockets on a winter coat. Turn left instead of right, and you avoid that accident entirely, and never know it even might have happened; take a new route to work, get hopelessly lost, and in the process lose a lucrative contract, one which could have helped you pay off the last of your mortgage.
We can't know what might happen, and can't live our lives in dread or anticipation of every turn, every step, every encounter. I don't hold with the "pre-planned ' life in which we have no control over anything (and which, after all, turns us into nothing more than stage actors reading scripts), I guess all you can do is remember to turn the lights on at the top of the stairs and pay attention on the way down. No matter where it leads.