Strange as it sounds, I've been thinking about the movie "Back to the Future" lately. It was referenced in an episode of television I watched, and since then it's been on my mind. Particularly the magical time machine and its Flux Capacitor that sends Marty McFly back to the 1950s.
I think I was attracted to the phrase "flux capacitor" because my life has been in a considerable amount of flux lately. I've been traveling for almost six months, and writing, and dealing with unexpected events, and living life in a relatively unplanned way. It's been wonderful and challenging, and absolutely full of joy and uncertainty. A "flux capacitor" sounds like the sort of thing that could take such experiences and emotions and thoughts that often feel out of control and make them make sense, give them purpose.
Moments ago, I went to Merriam-Webster online dictionary and asked it to define "flux." I already know what the word means--change, transition, flow from one state to another--but as a writer, sometimes I like to see the technical definition. I usually learn something.
This is what it told me:
"Flux (n.): A flow of fluid from the body, as in (a) diarrhea, (b) dysentery."
That was it. No other definitions. Just a long, blank white page after that.
I cracked up laughing. What? Was it possible that I had been using this term wrong for years? Had I just created a blog post centered around the metaphor of my life as diarrhea?
Well, no, it turned out to be a glitch on the website. When I hit reload, it filled in the rest of the definitions, including the one I was looking for, which read simply: "change, fluctuation."
My sense of amusement continues. I've always considered it a strength that I can laugh at myself. And I realize that saying or doing something stupid from time to time doesn't make me any less smart. It was a nice reality check, too, because when I said my life was in flux, I definitely did not mean my life is watery crap. Not by a long shot.
So now I'm thinking that maybe the Flux Capacitor isn't all it's cracked up to be. Marty McFly goes to the past to try to change things, but when he gets there, he realizes it was a bit of a mistake and all he wants is to get back to the future.
I am luckier than Marty, I suppose, because I've never wanted to change the past. I'm happy with where I am and how I got here. But I do think there's value in looking back. All of this flux is leading somewhere...and hopefully that somewhere is a brighter, more coherent future.
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