Empty space frightens me. A blank page is so foreboding, and thoughts of the future, while they can be hopeful and inspiring, are often laced with dread.
What am I going to do? What can I do? How can I make a worthwhile life and not merely exist.
I read a blurb about a couple who stopped to take a picture of a beautiful sunset in Boston. The woman posted the picture through Instagram, and almost immediately after, a car near them struck another car, sending that car careening into the couple, killing them. What the fuck?!
Seriously, how do we have any sense of stability or safety – ever. We can’t, but we do. We inure ourselves to how fragile we are, how fleeting this existence, and if you’re not religious, how final it all is.
There’s a certain beauty in life being here and now and nowhere else. We don’t exist anywhere else – when it’s over, it’s over! We wouldn’t know, and we couldn’t care. It doesn’t matter how long or short our life is – only that we lived it. Whatever portion we have, be here now.
Be here now.
Why does that elude me? I’m in the past so often you’d think the present doesn’t exist for me. Maybe the present is too uncertain for me. The past is full of memory, of life, of friends, of excitement, adventure, and of hell too, but I get to choose what I focus on more often than not about the past.
For instance, summer has several levels. I remember my childhood summers as fairly care-free, and some of that was because I was so young. I was still discovering the world, and how things worked. That’s still true, but now, I have experience and perspective, and that dulls so much of life’s brilliance for me. Then, there is the pre-teen and teen year recollections. Those years were fraught with a mix of hell and heaven. I mostly think about my friends at that time, and how much they meant to me. They were my tribe. We’d spend time together nearly every day. We hitch-hiked to the beach, or just spent time talking, getting stoned, laughing, swimming, working in various capacities, but mostly enjoying each other’s contribution to the whole of us.
It wasn’t perfect. Friends got bitchy, plans didn’t work out, things went awry, but the charitable haze of summer memories favors the best times, and it makes me long for my friends, and to re-experience those precious moments – only known to me because I got to keep living.
I am thankful for that.
Summers throughout my twenties collected friend and love-soaked reminiscences, but also loneliness and a heap of broken heart rubble. Having my son was the best and most terrible decision of my life.
Through my distant view, I needed way more help than I had. I feel I was an 80% good mother, but that 20% sucked, and hurt my son through my Momzilla phases when I would yell for stupid things, and yell to rail against my circumstances, only I never managed to change. He will never write a Mommy Dearest-esque diatribe about me, but he did tell me, when I apologized for the hundredth time about my lack of volume control, that I taught him how to deal with angry people. Damned with faint praise.
We did have many sweet summer times though, so I am glad for that.
My thirties were all about parenting, and less time with old friends. I was finally diagnosed with major depressive disorder, PTSD, anxiety and panic disorder, and it wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that I got proper treatment, and found help for my ongoing trauma re-enactment. This knowledge gave me a context, and a way to deal with some of my mental health issues, but just because I finally understood what had happened and how my brain was effected didn’t suddenly make the clouds part and birds start chirping. It’s taken a long time to be more good with myself than not, and there are plenty of days when checking out seems like the best solution to my problems.
Now that my son is grown and off into making his own set of adult memories, I’m relishing summer again. I long for carefree days with friends, for swimming, and lying on the beach, for talking about anything and the bonds of deep connection. I’ve had that with my oldest sister this summer, and it’s been wonderful. We’ve talked for hours on the edge of the lake, basking in the sun, then cooling off in the refreshing water. I am her sister again, two women with shared history merging paths anew, a choice bringing us immeasurable personal value.
I desire that with all of my friends and family, Communion is the only true currency, the most worthy pursuit I can imagine.
If I die and that is the end without any residual consciousness, or sentience, then living well is my gold standard. If there is existence beyond our physical demise, I have no idea what that will mean – for I certainly don’t accept a heinous god and the precepts put forth by various religious tracts – but I do think I will be at peace, and surrounded by the love given to me, as well as the love I gave.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.