Half-ty

There is a philosophical theory, as I recall, that suggests an arrow can never reach its target.

It goes like this: In order to reach a target, an arrow much travel half the distance first.  Then it has to cover half of the remaining distance.  Then half again…and then again.  By this account, the arrow never reaches the target because there is always another half distance to go.

Yet it does.

I recently had my half-birthday, that date in which I was half a year past my last birthday cake and 6 months away from my next.  Call it my ‘Half-ty Birthday.”  No need to send cards or flowers.  There was no cake.  No candles.

But as I’ve known for a while, I am closer to the target than I am to the bow, I am kinda liking that ‘half way there’ theory.

My son just celebrated his 22nd birthday.  And did so with a bit of a ‘ho-hum’.  22 is nothing special. It’s not a milestone.  It’s not like 10 (a decade), or 18 (vote), or 21. Or 30, 40, etc. to come.  I fear the older we get – whether counting in years or decades – the landmarks are fewer and further between.  And we move far beyond counting half-ties.

We mark our lives with other benchmarks that may or may not have easy calendar references.  Marriages, births, jobs, divorces, loss of loved ones are some.  There is no half-way mark to reach those.  Few have half-ways beyond them.  These are not arrows.

Nor are we.

We don’t tend to travel in straight lines like an arrow released toward a target.  We may launch in a direction but winds and other factors take us on different courses.  And even arrows miss their targets – soaring away from their goal or burying themselves in the ground far short of where they were intended to go.

And we know that.  Yet we still go on.  What choice do we have?  We have been ‘launched.’  We have been aimed – by our choice or by others, and we continue to travel until we are stopped – by our intended target, a newly found or unexpected target, or we float until we fall to the ground.  But until we get there, we still go half-way, then half-way and half-way again.  And, unlike that simple arrow, we can change course.  We can find new goals, new targets.  And we may, or may not reach them.  (And for this argument that really doesn’t matter.)

I’m half-way to my next milestone, if you count in years.  It ends with a zero.  Nuff said.

My arrow has missed many targets and has flown in directions never expected.  It has pierced the clouds and burrowed in the soil, but it continues to fly – getting half-way closer, and half-way again to whatever target is next.  I hope it has a long way to go.

Recent events suggested my ‘half-ways’ might be shorter than I hoped – that my arrow might fall to the ground before my next milestone, before my next target.  But I believe they are wrong.  They are wrong!

I’m honestly not sure where this arrow of mine is going.

I do believe that I’m only half way there.

John Rice

8/6/14

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One Response to Half-ty

  1. Olivia Fox says:

    The end point makes sense of the journey.

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