I just read a poem by a fellow blogger, Dennis Cardiff (spelling?) which reminded me of lyrics from the U2 album Achtung Baby. On top of that, another blogger, Robert Okaji (spelling as well?) is getting ready to publish a book of poetry which reminded me that any day now my friend, Gail G., is going to have her book of poetry released.
Life, it is completely and utterly surrounding me. And I am in the dead center of all of these wonderful layers of existence and I am utterly thrilled with the fact that I am able to participate in the joys and successes of all of these lives surrounding me.
I am a fortunate and blessed woman. I have a fantastic job. I get to work with students who yearn to learn (sorry about the rhyming). I finally have six wonderful words that I am going to use for writing a sestina, a poetry style that I have been wanting to conquer for a decade. I am sleeping, which is lovely after two successive days of tossing-and-turning-sleeping.
I have great colleagues. One of them just walked into the office where I am sitting; he’s a lovely gentleman. Brilliant, kind, compassionate. What more could I ask for in a colleague?
Yesterday, the sun finally broke through all the rain clouds and I was bathed within mid autumn warmth, the kind that reminds my bones that life is always within my grasp and that I can choose to hide from it or choose to ostracize myself from it.
Or I can thrust myself into the vortex of all that is life and living and enjoy this incredible experience.
Life isn’t for bystanders.
I know I’ve heard that somewhere.
Yesterday, my husband and the Girl were delivering birthday gifts to our niece. And while they were gone, the Boy and I went to the gym where I ran two miles. They were long miles. I swear the treadmill’s distance measurement was going backwards and forwards all at the same time.
And I was exhausted but I knew that if I didn’t run yesterday then I wouldn’t run today. And I really want to see where this long-distance running thing that I am doing will take me.
So I went and I ran. And in doing so, I pulled myself out of the numbed, exhausted state presented by endless grading and constant work and just went miles and miles into nowhere because I was on a treadmill.
But as I was running, I was deep within my mind and the music of U2 (ironic, isn’t it?). I was running through my novel and my lesson plans and on a treadmill and nowhere and everywhere. I was running through Hamlet and Taming of the Shrew. I was running through a world of beautiful colors that were cerebral splotches of brilliance and luminosity.
And then, the two miles ended. I had met my goal. And the Boy and I went home so we could change and I surprised him by taking him out to dinner. Because the Boy had been going through some rough patches recently (don’t ask) and I wanted him to see that regardless of actions and choices that he was still wonderful and valued and loved.
So we went to a local Mexican restaurant and sat on the patio and my back was to the sun and it was nothing more than good food, warm sun, and lovely conversation about nothing more than life. And its beauty and its wonderfulness.
Because, my life is good. Seriously. My life is good. At this moment, any and all complaints that I would have are merely petty or inconsequential.
It’s been roughly twenty-four hours since I started this post. The bell rang and I had to immerse myself within the worlds of Hamlet and Taming of the Shrew. I went from angsty emotionalism to satire and Stockholm Syndrome.
But as I review this post and think back on the emotions I was feeling yesterday, I can still feel the residual sense of peace and joy, that sense of being caught up in the middle of a wind burst and feeling my hair pulled away from my shoulders, the lift of my jacket and heavy clothing off my shoulders and, for a brief, beautiful second, I feel like I could fly.
That is what it is to love life. That is what it is to choose joy, to choose hope. I am optimistic, probably to a fault. I likely annoy the people who surround me because I refuse to allow negativity and pessimism to defeat me and my sense of spirit.
And I have learned how to temper my joyfulness and optimism so that it is a little less nauseating to those who work/live with me. At least, I have done my best to try and do that. Because I know what it’s like to be sad or in a depression and have that obnoxiously happy person try to lift my spirits by telling me that “it’s not that bad” or how “things are going to get better.”
Guess what, idiot. When I’m really upset, telling me that “it’s not that bad” really sucks. I want to experience the emotion because, once I have gone through the course of feeling all those frustrating feelings, then I can move forward. But you making me feel guilty doesn’t help.
I am off topic and in the middle of topic. I am here. I am there. I am everywhere. Which is the crazy, wonderful thing about life. I am a participant. As the summer releases its grip, I luxuriate in the warm afternoons, sitting on the porch swing and sucking on lime popsicles and petting the cat who has missed my lap because the summer days are too hot for sitting on the porch swing. I have papers too grade. I will always have papers to grade.
But I will not always have those five minute opportunities to sit and stop and just enjoy and be happy. For my friends. For my fellow writers. For my family and my pets and the microscopic bits and pieces of laughter that float around my house and cling to everything.
And so I will stop. I will choose to stop and I will thrust myself into the primal and wonderful existence that is my life and will embrace it as hard as I can. Because that is what it means to live.