Saturday, February 18, 2006

Resonance ...

Today is one of those days.

I don't know if has something to do with the position of the moon or the fact that it's -2 outside and I'm feeling very cocooned and grateful in my warm, little home.

But as I poke around the Internet, my morning routine, reading the blogs in my blog bookmark, so many of the posts that I'm reading this morning (and thanks to all the bloggers who post on a regular basis, so I have something new to read when I visit, and I visit every day) and striking a deep, soulful chord.

Like how our jobs define who we are. Not because we necessarily define ourselves that way, but because that's society's way of sizing us up. "What do you do?" is always the first question after an introduction. Maybe it's just rote. Like saying, "Nice to meet you" after you've met someone, whether it was truly nice to meet them or not. But why can't we ask another question? "What's your favorite cuisine?" or "When you were in school, did you like math?" ("Greek" and "It depended on the teacher," by the way.)

Or like how many of us - most of us - don't really live, we merely survive. Steff quoted Ayn Rand: "Avoiding death does not equal living life." (I've never read Ayn Rand. I have "Atlas Shrugged" on my bookshelf because I feel like I'm supposed to. I've never read "The Fountainhead." I have no inclination.) One of my mom's favorite quotes - as she always said it - is from the Rosalind Russell movie "Auntie Mame": "Life's a banquet and too many poor bastards are starving." The actual quote is "Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" But she always had the spirit of it.

Problem is, most of us don't really live, most of us merely do survive. We get through every day. We have obligations. Maybe we hate our jobs. Maybe we hate our relationships. But inertia is a powerful force. Or the ruts are too deep to rock out of.

My God, that's sad. So many people, myself included, put life on hold. But like Lennon said, life is what happens when you're making other plans.

Last weekend, someone very close to me went into the hospital for a routine procedure, and as that procedure began, her heart stopped. Doctors revived her. And her heart stopped again. After emergency open-heart surgery, she made it through the critical period that night in ICU, only to face more complications the next day that necessitated another trip to the OR.

We all held our breath for two days. I tensed every time my phone rang.

She might come home from the hospital tomorrow, or maybe she won't come home until the middle of the week, but all of it has made me marvel at how quickly everything can change.

In "Tuesdays with Morrie," Morrie talks of the metaphorical little bird that he asks, "Is this the day I'm going to die?" Because if you ask that question, you'll live your life differently. We all take too much for granted, as if we have limitless time. We don't contemplate our deaths, because what if thinking about something hastens its arrival?

But in the meantime, we don't really live, either.

A few years ago, a friend of mine passed away very unexpectedly. He was on vacation. I'm still not sure exactly what happened. I don't know if the family knows.

It was a shock, because he was in his 40s, but personally, it was made worse because we had had plans to see each other a couple weeks previous. I was going to head out to L.A. for a couple days, but he found out at the last minute that he had to work an event in New York, and we would have only had a Sunday night to see each other. We scrapped our plans with a mutual, dismissive, "Let's just do it another time."

If I had known that was going to be my last chance, I would have flown to LAX to see him for five minutes.

There are so many places I want to see, so many things I want to do, so many things I want to say. I don't tell the people in my life often enough that I love them. I let fear hold me back from too many things. I let perfectionism win, instead of pursuing the sheer joy of an experience.

I need to live more.


Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

(and thanks to all the bloggers who post on a regular basis, so I have something new to read when I visit, and I visit every day)
check out an rss reader like thunderbird or When somebody posts something new, your rss reader will "know" and you don't have to "visit" everybody every day just to find out there's nothing new.

10:47 AM  

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