Mirror, mirror on the wall

Information is not always answers

Ever since search engines were invented, I've searched (now "googled") every question I've ever had. "What does a poison ivy rash look like?" "Why did The Ohio Players break up?" "Who invented meringue?" 


If there's one thing I can't stand, it's not knowing the answer to a question. That kind of stuff used to keep me up at night as I searched the memory banks of my brain. And once I thought I had the answer, there was no way to verify it quickly. 


I used to go to libraries and search books there so I could get a missing factoid out of my head once and for all. Searching a library in the old days meant sifting through little cards, writing down questionable cross-referenced book titles and locations, then searching the stacks for what you hoped was the book that held the magic answer. Oftentimes, it did not. Or it was checked out. Or it was only a step in a long feather-strewn goose chase.


One of the reasons I turned into a decent business systems analyst years ago was this constant quest for answers. And not just the answers, but the quest for relevant, probing questions as well. Search engines, then, became my best cyber friends.


But there are some things that Google cannot answer. 


I'm at the point in my life where things are getting more complicated. Family members' health issues, uncertainty about retirement and my own aging, and complicated relationships are just a few of those things. I thought life would get simpler as I became solidly entrenched in mid-life but that doesn't seem to be happening. The wisdom I gained in the past 50ish years did not prepare me for some of life's current challenges.


There are nights when I can't get myself off the couch and into bed because I want a little space in my head to think things through. Oftentimes, I find myself reaching for the MacBook and turning my gaze to the empty Google search box.


My cursor goes there and blinks at me as if to taunt me. "Go ahead. Try to google that one!" And I try. Entering words and phrases that yield some information. Yet information is not the same as answers.


I want to put my hands and head around a solid, proven approach to whatever personal mess I'm tangled up in. I sometimes get frustrated with my lack of answers on the web, trying even more to find the right words that will yield breadcrumbs leading my way out of the mid-life woods. I found myself getting angry that Google couldn't tell me when the pancreatic cancer would finally take my mother from me.


One of the Kathyisms I've got stored in my repertoire is, "You can't know everything." I've said that to others who have searched in vain for answers to life's elusive spiritual questions. But I have a hard time following my own words of wisdom.


In a world that has turned answers into a billion-dollar product, the priceless answers are nowhere to be found.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Anastasia O'Malley October 16, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Thoughtfully written.
Kathy Nolan Deschenes October 19, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Thank you!


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