The Signals We Want

It's frightening how the same signal we seek to live is one we wish to avoid for living.

There are many signals in life but none may be more definitive than the "beep beep beep" of a heart monitor.


It literally notes the existence of life. The absence of the up and down signal brings grief and sadness to those around the individual.

The up and down is something we all want to see. Because it signals the existence of life. The flat line shows death.

One day I decided to flip the image of a heart rate monitor I drew in my notebook. It looked something life this:


I started seeing the up and down signals as the windy path of life. The journey. The obstacles we'd have to overcome, the hills we have to climb, and the walls we hit.

Though everyone may empirically understand this to be the true nature of life, it doesn't stop people from yearning for that straight path. The "flat line".

But just like how the ups and downs in the heart monitor show life, the zig zag path we take to our finish line (i.e. death, permanent flat lining) also shows life. Rather, I think it shows the life of someone who is actually 'living'.

Conversely, a journey with a straight line (though I think to be impossible) would symbolize a life not lived. No adventure. No growth. No development of self or to society.

I'd always looked for the fastest route from A to B. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. It seems almost human nature to demand and expect things to be done quickly.

But reflecting on my own short journey, the many journeys shared on Accounted For, and the more stories I come across... I am learning to embrace taking the pathless path. The journey with no shortcuts but one with the sole purpose of living.