Y’know that old cliche, “I felt like I had a new lease on life”?
Welcome to my Friday morning. I rolled out of bed, bitter about a bad night’s sleep, got up, grabbed a glass of water, and realized: Wow, I feel almost normal. Yep, the flu / cold that sunk its teeth in deep has finally given up some of its grip.
You know, being sick isn’t all bad. Catching a three-week thing sucks, but a four- or five-day bug? Not a bad thing at all.
We’re all so stuck in our gotta-do’s that we tend to forget about choice. We get caught up in these lives of supposed obligation and occupation that we forget there’s a bigger picture out there.
I’ve slept a lot, excluding last night, since Sunday. Probably 50% of my week was spent under covers, out of commission. Had you asked me Saturday if I was planning on sleeping in Sunday, I’d have told you “I don’t have the time.” I’d have said I was planning on having late nights all week long — and that I was planning on getting into the habit of setting my alarm clock for earlier than necessary, too. I felt my days weren’t my own. Obligation engulfed me from every angle.
And then I got sick. Necessity is the mother of action, too. I turned off the alarm clock, stopped cleaning up after myself, ignored the chaos of my universe, and became still.
Last night I had a moment. I had turned off the TV early, thinking an early night necessary to make it through my day. Then it was dark. My whole place, just dark. And silent. I sat there in the blackness for a while, trying to remember the last time I felt something peaceful like that. It’s been a long time. A long, long time.
Some days a little time can feel like a lot of forever. That 10 minutes of utter silence helped me stumble upon a remembrance of another cliche. “Why do I keep hitting my head with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.”
And that’s been my problem: I’ve been hitting so hard I’ve been forgetting to let up. I’ve always believed that illness was kind of life’s way of forcing us to take notice of something we’re neglecting — ourselves. Reminders are valuable. The trouble is, our memories are short.
I’m not quite sure what it is I’ve learned this week. It’s not entirely clear to me yet. But I feel as if something has changed. Some little bit of me has had an inkling of what it wants, needs, can do. I’m really not quite sure what, though. It’s strange to know I feel different, but I’m not sure how or why. I just do.
Next Friday, I turn 33. I have one week left to achieve a couple goals of mine. Then I can say I did everything I wanted to when I was 32. It might be the first time in years I’ve actually accomplished my primary goals… And I don’t mean professionally, working for the man, and shit like that. I mean things that are, deep down inside, important to who I am as a person. Things that ultimately will mean I believe in myself. Risk-type things.
And that’s a pretty good start.
Y’know, I know that my mother died at 57, and if anyone should feel like the clock is ticking, it’s probably me. But, the thing is, she might’ve died young, but she died on her terms, after finally starting to live her life her way. It wasn’t until she was 47 that her life really began. She got her realtor’s license, learned to sail, captained a yacht in the Mediterranean, climbed mountains in China, fell in love with an adventuring guy and had the love affair of her life, and really, really became the woman she always wanted to be.
I’m lucky that I learned young that life’s not over until you want it to be. You can always have new experiences, you can always become the person of your dreams. The clock’s only ticking ‘cos you’ve let it. Every now and then, you have to remind it who’s calling the shots. Prioritize. Get rid of the stupid obligations. Do what’s necessary. And always, always have time for you, because it’s in those precious moments that life really lives.
I may have to go to work today, but I suspect it’ll continue in this pleasant way. Today I feel like a contributor. A good morning to end a long week.