When what we thought no longer works

My latest jigsaw is proving harder than anticipated.  I did what was expected of me; separated out the edge pieces first to build the frame.  I was taught that if you look after the edges, the centre will take care of itself.  A completed frame creates reference points for building the image.

Often, there are no distinguishing marks on a group of pieces.  When this happens, you can use their shape to work out which goes where.  Often, there is only one right fit.

Not this time.

This time, I can’t rely on shape.  The pieces are too similar.

This time, I think I will have to assemble what I can of the centre before I can comfortably complete the frame.  The colour around the frame blends from one shade to another, with no distinguishing marks, rendering it useless as a place of reference.

Let’s look a little deeper at this jigsaw analogy.

We compare the piece in our hand with its location in the image on the box lid.  The frame helps us work out where the centre pieces go back on the puzzle board.  In life, these reference points are usually our family and friends, those in our immediate vicinity, those we can see.  Even in this media-saturated world, our immediate family and friends can still hold great sway over what we expect our life should be like … or could be like (… or won’t be like!).

I discovered the puzzling nature of existence quite early on.  My first five years of schooling did not mirror the experiences of others around me.  In a small group, someone is always on the bottom of the pecking order and, in a two-person running race, second is the same as last.  So I’ve been navigating life through the prism of a “Puzzle To Be Solved” for many decades.

I discovered during high school that the influences and options open to us far exceed that which is available in a single jigsaw frame.  During high school, I discovered science fiction – Doctor Who and the original Star Trek in, of all things, black and white.  From their weekly episodes emerged a variety of viewpoints and different ways of thinking … ideas that would never occur to me if I had not seen them.

I’ve just now finished four years of part-time study; handed in my last assignment yesterday.  That means I’m now re-looking at my reference points and options, trying to work out which way forward.

It means I’ve started a new jigsaw – and not just the one that triggered this blog post.


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