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The Oyster Idiom

October 20, 2008

The world is my oyster.  The phrase is supposed to mean that I have the ability and freedom to do anything I want.  Awesome.  And yet, yikes.

I have a tendency to overanalyze.  Idioms certainly fall victim to this analysis.  What does this phrase really mean?

I think the phrase is supposed to be related to the fact that oysters make pearls.  At first glance, I assume the phrase means the world will give me “pearls” — incomprehensible wealth and ensuing pleasure.

However, if the world is my oyster, and I live in the world, what does that make me?

Events have unfolded in such a way that I suddenly have no ties, no obligations, no reason to stay and continue life as I know it.  Unless I should stay.  Unless I should try to continue.

It’s become abundantly clear to me that I’m a grain of sand, destined to become the best, biggest, most beautiful pearl imaginable.  I’m thrilled to have that potential, but overwhelmed with the pressure to choose a course that will lead me to reach it.  I want to curl up and cry, mope, and wish I could go back and have the life I had days ago.  But at the same time, I’m certain the decisions I’ve made were right, and the direction I’m heading, though I’ve never been there and don’t know the way, will lead to a future so great I can’t even fathom it.

I’ve never felt so conflicted.  Somehow it’s possible to feel incredible sorrow and disappointment and simultaneously be encircled with comfort, assurance, and optimism.  I wish I didn’t feel the sadness, but I’m incredibly grateful it’s not consuming me.  I’m excited to make something of myself, whatever that something should be.

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