No Anchors

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” – Clint Eastwood

Before.

After.

The chasm between any two parts of your life seems predestined.

“We do not remember days. We remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese

Then again, all of the cross-sections of our lives appear that way after the fact, with clear divisions of some calamitous or joyous event to artificially demarcate them.

Whether due to death, career, pandemic, new love, or the discovery of a friend you didn’t know you were missing, our lives are a series of bookmarks. If we’re lucky, our books are a series of laughter and events and only briefly interspersed with the sorrow that must accompany us.

Honestly, I did not recognize my own mind until I was in my late 40s.

In my life, I’ve had trouble learning complicated things quickly. I’m not saying this as self-deprecation; it is an absolute truth that I can readily admit. Mastery comes if I can overcome the reluctance the wiring in my brain presents. I was a genius with geometry and a failure with trigonometry. I love language and love it the best when I can break the rules that ask me for adherence.

Many people profess that they feel they’ve wasted their lives. Superficially, I can relate. On a deeper level, I can’t understand it at all. Life is an experience. It is possible to waste it, but very difficult.

Our lives are a succession of attempts to distract ourselves from the underpinning of our lives; no matter how well-lived, we will wither. Living a raucous and uncaring life in response is no way to find ourselves or a meaning that matters. Most of us fight a battle between polarizing options. We want to break a beer mug while dancing with someone beautiful at 11:30 p.m. and also want a couch and someone to share it.

What might the ideal increment of a happy life be? A year? 50? I suspect that it varies in proportion to the depth one feels one’s life.

I’ve stepped over the imaginary border into the ‘after.’ I feel its tangible presence behind me. There is no guarantee and no clear path. I don’t need one, nor do I curse myself for waiting for faith to propel me with enthusiasm.

Because of my long life, I can avoid feeling panicked when I realize that I’ve stepped over another milestone.

Given that many milestones were invisible until they happened, I should laugh and resign myself to the fact life isn’t done with me yet, no matter what it may look like next year.

I see the light. It shines upon me, whether I deserve it or not.

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