"I stuck!" says nephew Jack when he can't get what he wants or where he wants to go. At 3, he's not always making well-formulated plans that pan out to spec. To his credit, when he stuck, he knows it, he announces it, and he often gets some help that returns him to wonderful unstuckness.
Thanks to our caretakers' hard work, early life is full of favorable outcomes that just happen
. The child expects this kind of magic to be around forever (and suffers upon learning the truth). How we mold this original clay of magical thinking is hugely influential upon our future. Discovering a material world, many of us develop policies of pragmatism and logic, from which highly functional systems of living and planning emerge. For many it's an addicting solution to the puzzle of being alive.
At some point though, the memory of that initial magic crops up. What has matched its power? What have we seen or done that tastes better than those ecstatic fruits of our initial life impressions? The ripe memories. The good feelings. The first pain. It's Rosebud. It's music. It's all the exquisite beauty and horror of the cosmos imprinting itself on the fresh senses of a child in an instant. It's gods and monsters. And those are just the low hanging fruits. What might we find higher up in that tree if we stopped navigating in the real world and returned to our seedling consciousness? Certainly rediscovering those sublime mysteries would become a total private obsession. Of course we don't do that. We can't. But we remember. And so you find expressions on midlife faces that clearly say one thing: "I stuck!"