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  • . . . the traveler then enters a wormhole -- a hypothetical tunnel connecting two widely separated regions of space-time -- inside the black hole’s inner horizon, a place where space slows down, and accelerates you back out again towards the radius of the inner horizon. Once there, you see a second infinitely bright, energetic flash of light, where you see the entire future of the universe go by.

    ~ Professor Andrew Hamilton on falling into a black hole

    It was a dark and semiotic night. With every blow of snow I inhaled, an onrushing train of thought rushed through my brain, leaving a tunnel of darkness in the wake of its blinding headlight. I was trying to divine my future, but my inner emptiness only amplified the pounding of my heart. Was it fibrillating?

    All the anxieties I had nonchalantly swept away were coming home to roost. My achievements seemed shallow, my character jejune. Doubts multiplied. Should I leave my academic cocoon? For what sort of life? Marry her, await The One For Me, or repair to a mountaintop? Do my friends respect me anymore? Are they still my friends? What would my parents say if they showed up and saw this wretch spiraling into dark matter?

    All I had was a research job, a girlfriend who too urgently loved me, parents who cared for me, a computer I fancied I loved, a place to live, my car, my addictions, and my dog, who patiently adored and watched over me as I tortured body and soul. The job, the computer, the place to live and the elders had to stay put. The rest of it could swing anywhere. Except that I was immobilized, without a vision of where to go or what to become.

    I've had plenty of visions of future possibilities. Unfortunately for me, few of them shed any light on my life choices.

    And so the job ended, the apartment vacated, the relationship terminated – as were two more that followed. The dog died, the computer was replaced, and I never climbed that mountain. But eventually The One For Me did show up, I went on to forge a new career, settle down and raise a child, who will face her future choices with or without me and my kibitzing.

    So it goes. It doesn't seem to matter how bleak or glorious one's future seems. Dice are always rolling. It just comes to pass, intentionality be damned. You might as well be happy in your skin, and when you come to a fork in the road, as Yogi Berra advised, take it.

    We paralyze ourselves thinking each choice is crucial. We forget that there are many forks ahead and many roads will take us where we need to go, not just the one we happen to be on. So keep on trucking. Go ahead, tumble into that black unknown and come out on the other side to a new cruel and indifferent universe.

    Don't expect guarantees. Just try to make each choice more informed than the last one. And get a dog who understands you. This is life, goddammit.

    @image: Milky Way black hole visualization by Andrew Hamilton, University of Colorado .
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