(Artwork by Mamma Andersson, “Leftovers”)
For some reason, there is this sweet restorative innocence to waking up in the morning after a good sleep and discovering that something has changed overnight. It may be the avocado that ripened overnight after I placed it in a paper bag. Or the change of weather when it gets chillier and then super humid again. Or when thoughts have changed because they are allowed to do so. Like avocados. Or when dreams change and bad ones are replaced for good.
These days, my son and I established a morning ritual that works really well for us. We speak about the dreams we had and in the evening while having supper we talk about the day and what happened. I realized that whenever I ask him what he did in school there is usually the same response every single day. “Nothing”, he responds. But when I ask him what was the most exciting thing and the saddest thing that happened he goes on and on and talks for a long time giving me all the details. (Find out more reading this book)
There are many times in the evening when I sit patiently next to him on the couch and listen to more stories when he should be in bed already. Then he usually asks me what day it is tomorrow. The other day I told him, “Tomorrow is Thursday. Two more days and it is the weekend. It might rain again tomorrow but who cares because we have our umbrellas and rain boots. Then we may have a playdate with your friend. Then I make us supper and you can play with your trains. My son is always very calm when he knows what is going on; what is going to happen, what is planned and how we spend our time.
I don’t lie to him (except white-lies once in a while; they do not count), but the biggest lie I eve told him or even myself is that there would be time. A couple of years ago I received a message from my good friend in New York: “My husband is in intensive care and about to pass away after a motorcycle accident”, it said. Or my other friend who survived TWO cardiac arrests. Who survives TWO cardiac arrests? It was completely unexpected and I felt how I was about to collapse right there. It made me realize again that everything can end in one single second. Just the thought gave me mild panic attacks.
So, everything I thought I knew about time changed right there and then. I also thought a lot about the word “forever” or “never” and I still think constantly about them. The odd thing is that as soon as some time has passed the thought of “everything could be over in one second” is not so present anymore. Life continues and everyday duties take over and time no longer feels mercurial, yet consistently urgent.
There is always tomorrow, I told myself.
Other lies I used to tell myself were that I have time to do X, Y, and Z. Or that being someone’s someone means I have to delay all my desires and patiently wait. Or that I will really do this or that and be dedicated to getting it done yet postpone it again. These days I am thinking, “now or never” which was replaced by “maybe later”. This newfound knowledge to start and finish things and projects that I postponed, was afraid of or thought can wait, motivates me these days and it feels so good. It is all not as complicated as it sometimes seems. I just cannot lose perspective. It may be a little push in the right direction or the realization that I can accomplish anything when I just focus and stay on track. Other times, there is this pressure that is coupled with a somewhat significant f*****-up-ness of having to start all over again at age 37. I am wisening up, realizing what was and what is. Deep and shallow thoughts are disappearing and no longer compose and court me like deep and shallow breaths. I have avoided and not listened to myself for quite some time with such ease that even when obstacles started to present itself, I did not pay attention. My response usually was to simply adapt around it. Avoidance with a mix of smooth restraint can go very far especially when a partner has an obsessive interest in their own stories more than anything else.
Looking closely at the bigger picture, this time in my life is another great challenge and learning process leading me in a better direction. Considering how I talk about this certain time now made me realize that I simply should stick to present tense. Today is Saturday. The moon is shining. I am writing. I am happy. After all, I am just here, bungling this imitation of life, trying to find new ways to survive. Don’t we all?