If I can boast the fact that I’ve been to more provinces in Canada than the average Canadian, it is largely thanks to the Canadian Chess Challenge. And of course, my brother, for being the chess player of the family. This year, our family packed our bags and drove for a half a day to the city of Regina, green scenery and bridges on glistening lake. Our fourth year and fourth city, succeeding Halifax (NS), Ottawa (ON) and hometown Winnipeg (MB).
Though each tournament has brought about new forms of experience, I know in my heart that this year is comparatively different than all the others. In my luggage, I’ve packed research books instead of novels, a calculator instead of my (now defunct) iPod. I’m even typing this on Saturday evening, with the last half-day of tournament still ahead of me, for I fear I will force my time on other priorities once I set foot home. All to say that these last two years, the balance of my life has tipped to the weight of academics, and this event could not emphasize it for myself any more.
And that is okay. Of course it is okay. How should I expect it to be otherwise.
But the thing is, I never did expect it at all. For once, the idea of expecting a certain outcome never crossed my mind. And I think that is one of men’s best traits, but also one of the least channelled and least appreciated. To leave much of the future a blank. To not force upon the desire for continuity. To get the majority of our idea of tomorrow wrong.
So even though I’m spending more time on my math work than in the hall now, I remember the past years of sparked conversations and profound silence and looped music, and I am content. I am content that I have been given an abundance of good time, the meaning of which has evolved as the roots spread to new soils of new climates.
And so never has life ever seemed one-dimensional when looking at the past and present. Only so in the future; that must be why we always get it wrong. Yesterday, my mom and I went out of the hotel, blindly searching for an Asian restaurant. After walking towards downtown, then back, we resigned and headed towards the McDonald’s across the street. But then, a very compatible restaurant came to our view, and the evening seemed to have never left its natural course.
Just like the restaurant, this year’s Chess Challenge, although under different personal circumstances, has felt nothing less than a natural progression of time, thoughts, and family. And I have my adaptability as a human to thank. And I have my abstract mind to thank for my adaptability. So the circle walks with itself.