life as a collection

Hi. So, it's been a long, long time since I've written and there have been many, many moments when I've thought, "man, I should blog about this," but didn't. Overwhelmingly so, it has boiled down to the fact that it seems pointless to spend the time writing out thoughts to be published, when I'm the only one who will read them that next time I click over to the blog (months from now), reread old posts, and think, "I should probably blog..." and then don't.

I say all this as I am literally doing the thing I spent the last two sentences saying I've talked myself out of--c'est la vie.

 

However you've found yourself here reader, it's probably time for me to get to the thing that has pushed past my tendency to neglect this deal and actually write: this afternoon, I cracked open a book that I've been carrying around with me for at least a week, meaning to reread, as I hardly started it when I bought it 5-ish years ago. The book is called Cold Tangerines, and it's by Shauna Niequist. Y'all (or, more likely: future-me), I had to stop reading repeatedly in just the first few pages to really think about and process what I was reading. It is certainly not on accident that I grabbed this book off my shelf a week ago and decided to actually read it. Here's an especially meaningful chunk:

 

on waiting

 

I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college "adult" person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I'd become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that's when life will really begin.

And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin.

I love movies about "The Big Moment"--the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn't what it looked like in the movies.

John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat.

The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearls. And strung together, built upon one another, lined up through the days and the years, they make a life, a person. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies.

But this is what I'm finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way, That thing I'm waiting for, that adventure, that movie-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets--this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience.

 

I genuinely hope that you took the time to read that whole excerpt. I feel ridiculous even writing my own, plain, sentences after posting that, but I can't help sharing it. If this blog is to update whomever on where I'm at and what's going on with me, that section of words is it.

As I was reading it today, I was just so struck by how distinctly her outlook and mine mirrored each others. I started to think through all the milestones and hurdles I've crossed, even in just the last few years or months, and am astonished that what she wrote about, the waiting, anticipating, all of it, applies so directly to me. I have a fantastic job, incredible friends who are marrying, having babies, and seeing huge successes in their lives that I get to share in. I bought a house. Y'all. Bought. A. House. (whaaaaaat) (Um, what. I bought a house.) and so, so many more crazy, wonderful moments, pearls, that I can't begin to count. And yet until reading that today (and probably for a while until it sinks in to my heart), if I were being brutally honest with myself, I would say that all of that, up there, is "super great. No, really, it's fine. Everything's fine!" You know, in that voice I do when everything isn't actually fine, but the truth is not socially acceptable to divulge?

What the what.

Everything is more than fine. Everything I've listed up there, and all the things I didn't list, coming from someone else would sound to me like an incredible life for a twenty-seven year old.

And yet.

 

And yet, until the truth sinks down deep, my honest thoughts would be, "yeah, but" or "when ________ happens." And seriously, even now as I type it, it's embarrassing.

I know I'm not breaking any new ground here, but I was/am genuinely shocked at how thinly-veiled my waiting has been under the guise of contentedness. Everything for me is not just fine. Things are amazing. Even when everything isn't turning up roses, or I think Lennon got it wrong with that life-happening quote, or some sweet relative/friend/stranger relates the "when you're not looking, ________ will happen" advice. Again. My life is still more. And dang, I'm grateful.

 

Waiting* is for the birds, y'all.

 

 

 

*as I have been--other kinds of waiting (to be addressed by someone wiser than me, for sure) are amazing, brilliant, life-affirming, positive and all around puppies-and-rainbow-producing. Eventually.