Ice Circle metaphor of midlife

Today I remembered this story from last year showing a circular plate of ice rotating in a river bounded on one side by a shelf of ice with a socket to hold the circle in place and on the other side of freely flowing water to spin the plate.   It is a remarkable phenomena.  It is also another example of the benefits brought by ubiquitous video cameras allowing us to capture what would once just go down as a tall tale.

However, other thoughts prompted this image in my mind today.   I was thinking about my current situation, trying to make a mid-life course correction to find a combination of changes both in leisure and in work that would make sense for this next stage of my life.

I see myself as that central spinning plate of ice.

The ice-shelf side represents the progress I was making from the shores of my youth.   The distant shore was where I’d like to end up.

As apparent in the video, the current is preventing the growth of the static ice shelf to progress to the other side.   The ice shelf makes a good analogy of my recognizing that I’m not going to get where I want by building on the past.

The spinning plate is an analogy to my recent attempt to break free of the shelf.   I imagine that the plate started as a fractured irregular shape similar to my start in this journey.   The current caused it grind against the other ice to produce the circular and nestled shape seen in the video.

The image suggest the futility of the attempt to break free.   The current-driven rotation keeps the plate where it is at and the rotation assures constant grinding of any growth that may occur.   It does not appear to be destined to reach the other side.

I feel similar forces as I try to find a new footing.   I can feel the current pushing at the edges telling me where it wants me to go but the shelf of the past is holding me in place.   One edge of the plate is moving in the direction toward the distant shore but inevitably it will turn around and head back to the original shore only to complete the circle.

I certainly something like that as I explore work opportunities where there are many job openings that I could be pursuing.  But the job openings are described in narrow terms that don’t match what I’m looking for.   The advice is to shape up the resume to present the best possible case of matching the advertised job requirements and I’d have some chance in getting the job that isn’t what I really want.

Eventually, that is probably what I’ll end up doing.  Falling back into the pattern that I tried to escape in the first place.

Given that the above video was taken at the start of a very cold winter, perhaps the ice shelf did in fact reattach the rotating plate and finally extend to the other side as a solid sheet.   If that happened it is an sign that perhaps it will work out to return to what I was trying to leave.

But I return to the image of the free but stuck rotating plate.   Although it is spinning hopeless stuck in place, it actually did break free of the shelf.   Even if reattaching to the shelf eventually leads to our collectively reaching the opposite shore, there is that loss of the feeling of breaking free of the past.

While that plate is permanently stuck in its place, it is freely rotating between the shelf and the exposed current.

I guess it is a matter of time before I’ll resign to rejoining the static ice shelf anchored on the shore where it originated.

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