This blog post almost wasn't.
I've started it, then sat staring at incomprehensible sentences. I've cursed my lack of organized thought, dumped whatever thought I did have on to the screen and then back-spaced over everything. It's more cathartic that way, back spacing, it isn't the same as highlighting it all and then hitting delete.
I'm trying to resume blogging after a week of helping my family mourn the passing of my father-in-law, a mere eight months after losing my mother-in-law. It's been a shitty year for my family.
I started the April NaBloPoMo with every intention of finishing. Then came the hospital vigil and watching my father-in-law rapidly lose his battle with pneumonia. Following his passing, there is visiting with family and a giant To-Do list that accompanies the settling of affairs. I was there for support and to do whatever was asked of me, my Hubbypants and his siblings handled everything else. The daily traveling back and forth (an hour each way) added a physical exhaustion to the process of grieving.
It wouldn't be right to say it was a totally crappy week, because family gathered from another state and we got to spend a great deal of time with them. Sure, the circumstances could have been better...but the reality is that we have no idea how long any of us will be here, so finding the smallest amount of joy in a sea of sorrow is worth the effort.
And, if I'm going to be perfectly honest, my family is a tad whacked. They don't do miserable, mushy, wailing, lamenting, or anything that could fall into the too heavy category of 'mourning'. There were many morbid jokes, much laughter and some tears. There were moments of extreme sadness quickly followed by some quip that relieved the angst. That's how we roll.
So, after this past week, I'm finding it hard to get my blogging mojo back. I don't actually feel like writing anything, which is exactly why I forced myself to write.
But, I've been thinking about life a lot lately and it is hard not to contemplate ones own mortality when a family member or friend passes away...writing about this is therapeutic.
In the last year we've lost both my husband's parents and a dear friend of mine. I've come into an age where shit starts to happen, diseases stew in our bodies and time lays a heavy hand, getting us ready for the next phase of life that can either march slowly, or speed walk, towards deaths door. You can argue that death doesn't just stalk the older folks, that it isn't that discerning. And, you'd be right. But the more years you wrack up on your body, the greater your odds of suddenly facing your mortality. We age and eventually we die. All of us.
A typical thing to do when someone close dies is to assess our own lives, looking for the holes. What is left unfulfilled? What have I really wanted to do, but always left for later - when the time is right?
We all do it, checking off items from our mental bucket list. And we all say, "There's no time like the present!", rarely taking our own advice. Mostly because the present is so...NOW...and close and we aren't prepared and we need more information/money/time/help/etc.
Before you start thinking that I'm finally going to sell everything and run away with the circus in my gypsy wagon...I'm not. As appealing as it is to think I could just start ticking away at all of my bucket list items, reality is still ever present. Fulfilling dreams takes time, planning and organization. One cannot just drop out of their current life to pursue the dream of a different one (at least the majority of us can't). And that is why some people never start.
I'm as much for instant gratification as the next gal, I want to live my dreams right now. The reality is, though, that when you take baby steps TOWARD your dream, you are STILL living it. Waiting for some random time in the future puts us precariously close to never achieving our goals. I've been thinking about this often, nearly constantly since my cancer scare and the passing of friends and family. I think about time wasted in merely dreaming up a future, but not actually working toward it.
There are all sorts of things we do to keep ourselves healthy and hedge our bets for a longer life. Yet, there are forces out there that conspire against us: cancer, disease, the car accident that happens a block from your house, mac trucks barreling down on you while you cross the street, waves that pull you under while playing in the surf, slipping in your bathtub, choking on the lunch you eat in front of your computer...all alone.
Scary? Morbid? Yup, they are. And they are reminders that every day we walk an imaginary line between being fortunate enough to wake up tomorrow or not seeing the end of the day. At 43, I think about this. I think about the chances of my only being half way through my life and all the things I'll do with that time. Or, what can happen when I climb into my car to run errands and put yourself in the path of other cars.
I'm tired of thinking of doing, but not actually doing. I'm tired of waiting for opportunities to come to me or of letting ideas slip away because I'm not sure how to bring them to fruition.
I want to have a choice in what I will look back upon when the end of my life comes (provided I'm given that chance). I want it to be full of memories that I created and pursued with intent. I want to be able to look back and say, "Wow, that was a colossal success. I'm so glad I wasn't afraid to take that first step" as well as, "Damn, what a colossal failure! I'm so thankful for that experience and the path that it ultimately lead me to."
Whatever catch phrase you love, please start saying it to yourself every day:
Seize the Day
No Time Like The Present
Just Do It
[insert your own here]
Live a fulfilling life, whether you take big bites out of it and charge ahead, or prefer a slow and steady approach.