It’s hard to live like I do. No home. No house. No basecamp. Friends who have long known me say I am just a natural nomad.
Each time gets a little harder. The dreams and joys a little smaller. The apprehensions a little bigger.
I start to notice time, that was once an infinite bank account, has contracts, has demands, has an end date. It may be long into the future, but instead of being around births, I’m hearing more about deaths.
I’ve got half way through a natural life.
The immediate future starts to loom, rather than be a far off promise.
And still life, as I thought I would have it pretty much sorted by now, is not controllable. Not really even understandable. Sometimes I have to refuge in the flimsy idea that as I die and I experience the totally of my life flashing before my eyes, it will make sense. Because if not?
Over time things that seemed to help me make sense of things I don’t believe in anymore. Is knowing about one’s own psychology of any use when the psyche is taking an AWOL out of one’s own control? Is trying to ‘fix’ the mind, with the same mind (that is not ‘fixed’) of any use at all? Is taking six months off to explore dance of any use in the long run? Is achieving dreams only a way to not have any dreams left?
And yet each day shines light. Each nightfall brings candles.
And I wonder what is life all about?
Going ‘home’ is hard too. All those people, school friends, people who set out on this ‘race’, who started this ‘game’ in the same corral, with the same sort of opportunities; now have a house, have children, have jobs and careers and (I imagine) respect from society.
And I wonder where I went wrong. And I wonder if I went wrong.
In the car, taking me to the station between Xmas and New Year my I tell my good friend (who has a well paying job in management in the Police Force, who has a family, who has a husband she fell in love with at 16 who also has a good job, who has a beautiful home) how I admire her, how she has made it in life. House, career, children. She tells me how hard it is for her. How tiring. How difficult to withstand the pressures of daily living, of bringing up children, how neither of them would do their jobs if they didn’t have to, how she feels worn down by life.
She proceeds to tell me how she admires my life, how she thinks I have made it. I get confused. ‘Made it?’
‘Experienced things, done things…’
Here I am feeling lost and disoriented and somehow a person is admiring my life. And my friend feeling lost and disoriented and I am admiring hers. Perhaps because each of us sees what we want to see – all that we do not have that the other does – and we don’t want to see what price the other’s had to pay?
The grass is greener.
And I sit on the white toilet that for two months I can call my own, wondering in this my life, in that her life. A strong perception comes into me: with the ‘current climates’ it is hard for everyone – either because of a lack of money, a lack of time, or a lack of love. Perhaps simply, at the moment, the price to pay to be alive is rather, ridiculously high. But what can we do about that? It’s not personal. It’s global. It could simply be as dangerous as over population. And the human globe strains under the weight.
The flower still grows. The oak tree adds a little bark. The sky holds the weather. They have not changed, in their constant change.
And perhaps the bank of wealth is simply the ability to find mental space amongst chaos, regardless of what life you are living: from the rich to the poor, from the disinherited to the privileged, from the bonded to the free.
And who would want to live without a few quotes from Helen Keller? Wealth of experience galore:
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.”
“Believe. No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars or sailed to an uncharted land or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.”
“What I am looking for is not out there; it is in me.”
It is not a question of money, it is a question of wealth to look at a flower, or observe a sunset, or to wake up in time to see a sun rise. It is enormous if you can get off the treadmill of the habituated mind for a little while to do something you love but don’t often do. And those who are doing small things they love regularly – yea tops! If you can have a nice conversations with friends and people in general you are much wealthier than Trump. If you feel movements in your heart, if you remember you can breathe slowly and deeply as if drinking from a fountain of life, if you eat an orange as if it were the first time, write a poem, draw a silly little drawing, if you can dance around your kitchen, or play a song … perhaps this what life is about?
Is there anything else left? Do we need more?