Full disclosure: I am pretty tipsy right now. Please proceed with caution as the following may not make grammatical/syntactical/any kind of sense.
NaBloPoMo Day 3
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Bob Marley asked: “Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?” How would you answer him?
I woke up yesterday to an overcast sky. I should have checked the weather, but it was Theo’s first day of daycare, and we were in a rush to get out the door. I knew that it had rained overnight, and my foolish, optimistic self assumed that the sky would clear sometime during the morning.
By the time I arrived at the daycare to pick him up, the rain was pelting down. Even with an umbrella, I was soaked up to my waist. As soon as he saw me, Theo pointed at me and said, Mama, water!
It was pretty bad, and it was about to get worse.
See, the thing is, it’s basically impossible to hold an umbrella and push a stroller. I’ve been talking about buying a good raincoat with a hood (or a sou’wester!) since last summer, but I haven’t actually done it yet, because I am the queen of procrastinators. So I ended up having to walk home, in the rain, without any kind of protection.
There’s a funny thing that happens when you walk in the rain. At first you hunch your shoulders up and keep your head down, as if that will stop you from getting wet. Then you realize, shit, I’m already as wet as I’m going to get. You start loosen up, you relax your muscles, and look up. And, maybe, you start to enjoy it.
Yesterday, the water on the sidewalks of Forest Hill was ankle-deep in places. I was wearing ballet flats, which quickly became totally saturated, squelching uncomfortably with every step. It didn’t take me long to realize that I would be happier without any shoes on. Which is how I ended up walking barefoot in the rain through the mean streets of Toronto, my white tank top rendered nearly transparent, hair plastered to my scalp and dripping in my eyes. And you know what? It was great. Realizing that I had no control over how wet I got, and giving myself permission to get soaked made a world of difference in how I viewed the rain.
Now, how does this relate to the prompt?
Asking me if I’m satisfied with the life I’m living is a loaded question.
Is this where I thought I would be at 30? No, probably not. I had so many things that were supposed to have happened by now that haven’t, for one reason or another. Do I have regrets for the things that have led me here, to this place in my life? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I am the master of regrets. Give me any scenario that I’ve been involved in, and I’ll find something to regret about it.
But I also think that the happiest moments in my life have been those that I’ve thought about the least. Walking barefoot through the rain, for example. Running, not because I have a bus to catch or I’m training for a marathon, but because I like to feel the wind in my hair and my feet pounding the pavement. Kissing someone because I want them and need my body to be close to theirs in that moment, without thinking of what might come after.
I like to plan. I like to think ahead. Not only do I like to have all of my ducks in a row, I also like to arrange them by size and shade of yellow. Sometimes that works out really well for me; often it leaves me frustrated and angry when things don’t go my way. Yes, I want to have agency over my own life and control my own destiny, but sometimes it’s exhausting and demoralizing. Sometimes I just want to let go and see where that takes me. Sometimes I would really like to be able to switch my brain off and stop thinking. Sometimes I just want to do something because it feels good, and not wonder what it will mean for me in the bigger picture.
I feel like I spend a lot of time fighting myself, and fighting my desires, because I don’t think they’re beneficial to me.
What I want is to realize that no matter how hard I try to stay dry, I’m going to get wet. I want to accept that I am getting wet and maybe even enjoy it.
So what am I supposed to answer?
Yes, I am satisfied with my life? Does that mean I’m stagnant and boring?
No, I’m not satisfied with my life and I want to continue to try to work harder to improve my lot? Does that mean that I’m impossible to please and will never be happy?
Let’s leave it at this: I am satisfied that I am here, on this earth, in this particular time in history. I am satisfied to have this particular man in my life and have given birth to this particular child. But I think there is a lot of room for change and forward movement.
Or, as one of my yoga teachers said:
“Everything is perfect. Everything can be improved.”
I hope that’s enough of an answer.