I’ve been thinking … I am, apparently, quite fascinated with the concept of immortality. Not eternal youth and not just never dying, but the idea that one could live for decades in a body in it’s prime. (Hubby and I just watched the movie, The Age of Adaline.) The stories never go there, but wouldn’t it be the ultimate zen experience, living in the now, sucking the marrow out of life because you have all the time you need for do-overs if you make a mistake?
I spent most of my life frozen by the fear of choosing the wrong thing, the wrong path, the wrong person, the wrong career, the wrong (insert just about anything a human could get wrong.) So afraid of taking the wrong path, that I usually ended up taking no path at all. But if I had been eternally 29, would I have been afraid? I want to say – NO! I mean, what if I’d taken a year and every last penny I had and gone on that mission trip to Africa? What if I’d committed to 4 years, or 6 years, or 12 years in university? What if I’d spent six months backpacking across Europe, or Asia, or South America? What if I spent a year or two, totally dedicated to writing my book? And what if after it was over, I realized that I don’t like travel, or the career, or my book sucks? You know what? It wouldn’t matter! It wouldn’t matter because I will have learned so much, experienced so much, and now I can just pick a new goal and start again with all that experience and knowledge in my pocket … I have all the time in the world.
I could learn to play every instrument I’ve ever wished I could play. I could read every book, I could write every story, travel and see plays and meet people, earn degrees and try different jobs. I could try and learn and experience so many things. There would always be enough time for a do-over.
But I don’t have that kind of eternalness. I have a typical life span to work with, and that includes aging and the changes and limits that come with it. I have a finite amount of time to pack it all into, and even those years are not guaranteed. And what if I buy the house and it disappoints, I write the book and it flops, I try painting and I suck at it, I can can never manage to play the ukulele well for other ears to endure, I invest time and energy into a friendship that just doesn’t work out … it doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter because I will have learned and experienced so much. I will (if I’m doing this right) have had fun. I will have touched lives and been touched by them too. And isn’t that the goal? Isn’t that the point? Isn’t that what life’s about? Not getting it all perfect, just getting it!
Alas, I am not Adaline Bowman, I don’t have decades of suspended aging to figure out what I really want. I am an ordinary mortal and I have to work within these constraints. The best I can do with all these possibilities I see, is to go for them. In my own jackrabbit sort of way, grasping whatever opportunities come within my reach. The only question I ask myself, do I actually want this. F*ck failure! F*ck fear! My life is more than half over already, I don’t have time to waste.
When I made this move up north with my husband, we had a plan and a lot of expectations – they didn’t turn out the way we thought they would. Which means that the years ahead will look different too. Well, alright then. I say, bring it on and buckle up, we are entering the age of Elise!