I hope you’re well. I had some growing up and growing older to do; I wish I could have seen you more.
I’m getting older, I feel it– the way my body caves into fatigue, the way it begins to resist certain substances, the way it demands sleep and rest. I feel my skin tingle with age as I study in coffee shops, which are always crammed with students cramming. The way my college memories have begun to yellow and fade at the edges. The way I’m startled when I look for the people I’ve known and I see their walking figures melt into the horizon; wasn’t it just yesterday when we conversed about such and so?
(I wish I could have given you a hug, or a deeper smile had I known it was the last time we would see each other again. If only I had known that the extent of our presence in each other’s lives is brief, maybe I would have been less fearful of showing you who I am.)
My life as I’ve lived it has been predicated on doing better ‘next time.’ (I”ll read this book, watch this movie, hang out with a friend, paint, create, travel… next time). More than anything, growing older is about shedding this postponement and understanding that some books will never be read, some doors will be left closed forever, and that some people are here just for a very brief time. Everything is shown in new light as my first and final rehearsal.
It’s a sobering thought. Nothing is free, and to pursue one thing is always at the cost of a million other things. I’m starting to make peace with the fact that I must choose only a few things. It’s what Doc G always says, “You must consent to necessity. You must say yes to the no.” Where may I find the grace and joyful acceptance that a person can only stretch so much? Where may I find the courage to decide?
I feel like I’ve come such a long way, that so many things have happened, and that so many things have failed to happen. But at the same time, I feel like I’ve never moved an inch. I periodically forget some old truths about myself: that I need to create and to learn, that I need to read and to write. But these truths surface again in critical junctions. When I need to decide on what I keep, I revert back to the things I’ve known to be necessary to my functioning. There’s nothing like reading to make me feel alive– there’s nothing like how the written word taps into my network and makes everything reverberate and glow. Nothing like it bursts my seams and asks me to spill the excess excitement onto paper. Because there are just so many things to be said. This is how patterns appear; this is how the world makes sense to me. But I have to choose it.
It costs a million other things; and I must choose to pay the cost. The currency is possibilities.
It’s funny how in my search for an anchor, I return to something I’ve done all my life. I took a huge journey only to remember what I’m looking for has always been at home.
Bit by bit, I’ll publish all the half-written entries I’ve scattered in draft folders all around. I hope these thoughts could be of use to someone.