I have spent a long time, over the years, watching lives drawn on screens by a moving point of light. Watching those monitor, I couldn’t help comparing them to the video games my sons used to play where their on-screen characters had a life-counter. Nor could I help thinking how closely the human heartbeat resembles the life that it counts.
Most of the time its measured beat runs like clockwork, a predictable organic machine that its inorganic counterpart displays upon the screen as a series of peaks and troughs. There is a regularity about them, each beat made up of multiple events that must reach both apex and nadir before repeating the cycle.
The similarities with daily life are easy to discern… most of us are, in some way, regulated by the clock. It calls us to work, to meals, to the commute or the school run… each day has a pattern dictated by necessity and habit. Each day has its highs and lows… many of them also predictable and part of the pattern into which we have grown or fallen.
The wider events of our lives also seem to run in a series of peaks and troughs, with the good times preceded and followed by ones we see as not-so-good, at least while we are living through them. There is a vague trepidation about ‘what next’ when the rhythm falters and no predictable timescale to these swings from high to low and back, but we can be pretty sure they will happen. It is only in hindsight that we may realise that the troughs are as valuable as the peaks.
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