Prior to just now, I have most often found the question, "what would you do if you had [insert incredibly short time frame here] to live?" so daunting. I have felt it heavy and angry and screaming over me every time I sit and throw my hands up and say, "but I am tired. I would like to rest today." Any time I lay in bed and hit snooze. Any time all I do in a day is work and I can't find it in me to cook. Currently walking into my room and witnessing the clean laundry and the dirty laundry and my unmade bed, the socks that need to be paired and the shirts that need to be folded. Any time I look in the mirror and I look at my tired, soft body that needs to run and be stretched and be moulded and is screaming, screaming, for sleep. Any time that mean, judgmental side of me puts her hand on her hip, purses her lips, sticks up her nose and says, "this is your idea of a great adventure? Rent? Exhaustion? Where is the art? Where is the product? Where is the lesson? Where is the spontaneity?" OH. She is so mean. I put hot coals below my feet, I squish on the pressure to deliver. In anything, but definitely in the "answer this question to prove your passion and zest for life, your mystery and your adventure, come on, Jessica" side of the spectrum. There have been many moments this year when I have been panicking because I can't see in my mind's eye what my "great next GRAND ADVENTURE" is going to be. And there are many moments [usually simultaneous with the writing of my oh-so-painful rent cheque] where I am tempted to beat myself up because I could be anywhere doing anything, and I am here, paying rent and coming back to an apartment so tired from work. But. I am learning the importance of walking into something instead of running away. I am learning the importance of SHARING experience, and the dullness, the anti-climax of going to these far-off lands on my own if there was nothing there for me and no intention to bring something there or to take something back to share. I am learning about roots and accountability and building and planting and plowing.
And back to that damned question. What would I do? I used to panic. 1. Must research really cool trendy things to do. Fool for not knowing already. Fool for not doing them already. 2. Must make huge list of crazy unbelievable, dangerous things. Must work momentary job and stamp on my forehead "THIS IS PASSIONATELY LIVING, BIATCH." Spend savings doing list. Repeat as necessary. 3. Carry list around at all times. Share to justify dead-end job. Another lesson of the year? I have performance issues. BIG ones. Make lists and better complete them or else FAILURE or else avoid the list altogether.
And now it is occurring to me, as I have run that loop a few times- save up, feel directionless, pack up and leave spontaneously [secretly freak out accordingly and hopefully come off so "brave and independent" or something], come back, feel directionless, feel like your soul is left in another country or on a different stage or with a different community- that, while I do have things that, if given the slightest opportunity I would love to do [most involving the stereotypical throwing of self off of tall bridges, out of high planes, eternally-staining ink on my arms, self-induced embarrassment of epic proportions...], I could do without. GASP, not what we're supposed to say?
How would I spend my day? I would wake up early and go to the ocean. There would be one phone call to make, and don't we all have that one phone call. I would have EVERYBODY over for breakfast and it would coincidentally be summertime [there is something magical about getting out of bed and wiping your sleep from your eyes and starting off the day with the people you Love.] and breakfast would turn into second and third cups of coffee, and we would move from the kitchen to the living room to outside and then back in to the kitchen, and we would laugh and cry and say the things that need to be said [they so urgently need to be said, and we don't say them now.] and as you left we would kiss each other and I would wash your feet and maybe have come to some sort of clarity of really good life advice. But mostly. The important thing about that is that we would gather. The important thing is that I would desperately soak up and pool together all of the treasures and joys and heartaches and lessons and trials and hardships and victory [VICTORY. so much victory.] of Life.
I am learning how simple my true heart is. How light I would be if I just remembered this in my day-to-day. Gather often. Observe. Share. Write it all down. Grill even the least-suspecting stranger of their deepest joy and greatest lesson. Be the first to initiate honesty by the humbling reality that I have little to offer, but I am offering it.
For some reason today, all of that feels a lot easier and stronger and more important than pulling a parachute after jumping out of a plane.