There's such a thing as the inertia of expectation. I've never thought of it in those terms before, but after a long night--I'm still awake, rather than just waking up--of thought, I'm pretty sure I grasp a larger concept, one I may have just been missing.
Think about it this way: expectation in the world as it was before The Fall was probably most broadly expressed in that we never saw the plague coming. Zombies, after all, were fiction. They were a concept so ridiculous that none of us even allowed the idea to be possible, much less plausible. So, naturally, when 'impossible' suddenly flipped over to the 'actual' category, our brains had a hard time handling it. Those of us best equipped to manage became survivors, people living out in the world, shaping it and themselves to fit the needs of continued existence.
Those slightly less inclined toward adaptation became marauders, I think. Not that there isn't a lot of variation within that group, but by and large I get the sense that marauders come from people who simply lost their compass when everything they knew was gone. The inertia of expectation was thrown wildly off the track and into unknown territory.
Even now it comes into play. I've been missing Becky something fierce, and my visits to her have been sporadic at best. So when I went to see her yesterday, imagine how shocked I was that the smallish building she had been using as a lab, crammed in there with her assistants, was gone. In its place is a warehouse that stretches across the divide between Haven Central and Haven West, also known as the big ass addition made of shipping containers. We've tinkered and built and altered and added on over the months, and West is something of a fortress now. With all the recent zombie activity, people have migrated there many times over the last week or so.
Becky's lab is huge. It's made of repurposed shipping containers, these brought in over time to fill the specific need for more space. There is a staff of at least twelve working at all hours, twice that during the day. Some of them are people brought in from the outside, but most are the old Louisville survivors, long since integrated. I can't get into the details of what the lab produces in any of its sections (mostly because I have no idea) but I can tell you it's breathtakingly different from what I expected to find. Becky was there giving orders and working her skinny ass off, though she spared me a few minutes and a hug.
Today is my wedding anniversary. I'm trying not to think about how things were when Jess and I tied the knot, nor the fact that by this day next year, we'll have spent more time together after the end of the world than before it.
The inertia of expectation is a strange and sometimes disturbing idea.
My point, if I even have one, is that we can't allow our expectations to rule us. I don't just mean in practical things like the defenses and the reliance on them that cost us so many lives recently. I'm also talking about even the tiniest things in our lives. When Jess and I said the vows and signed the papers, we never could have dreamed the world would come to an end, turn out the way it has. Things got bad. Very bad.
But I won't let that inertia drag me down. I can't pine for what might have been no matter how much my heart and mind want me to think about the possibilities we might be missing out on. Because when all this started, we were living in darkness, shivering in the night and trying to stay quiet to avoid the undead. We were the modern equivalent of the caveman, huddling in fear.
And now look at us. Those conditions created expectations, and we told those expectations to go fuck themselves. We stumble and screw up, and sometimes it costs us dearly. The war and the recent tragedy here are proof of that. Patrick is proof that nothing is perfect or goes on forever. Life is change.
If you had asked me in those first few months if we'd have power and a growing community and a newly born nation, I would have laughed at you and told you to cut back on the sauce. Today we have those things, and no matter how many bad things happen we strive toward ever more amazing changes.
I talk a lot about choices, and today, again, I choose to be happy. No matter what heartaches come, opening myself to the possibility of finding joy in the unknown is up to me. It's there, always. We just have to see it. Today's my anniversary, and I will find moments of happiness in it. For myself and for Jess, and in the memory of those we lost here in Haven. For Patrick and the people protecting us. For my mother and everyone who passed before. I'll find a moment of radiance and bask in it for the living and the dead, because life is too short and precious to spend alone and in sadness.
It's too easy to obsess over what could have been, what should have been, and thereby miss what is.