(day -8): a slow day, yet a meaningful one
After I had taken a break from writing fiction yesterday in order to ensure I had my newsletter ready and all set for delivery this coming Sunday, I had made up my mind to get back to the manuscript first thing this morning.
Unexpectedly, little D asked me if I could drop him to school today. When my child asks me for something non-material, such as time or attention or an answer, I never refuse him.
But a school run had not been part of my plan this morning, so I hesitated at first but decided that sure, I could drop him and then head to the library to work there.
So I got to a slow start, which cost me some decision-making ability. First, I couldn't decide where to park the car. Then I had to walk back thrice and check if I had locked it or not.
Once inside the library, I couldn't make up my mind where to sit although my usual favourite place – in a quiet zone by a large floor-to-ceiling window overlooking a small yard with a towering maple tree at its center – was available.
I dithered, walked around exploring other places in the library, then caught myself dithering and delaying for no real reason other than the lack of momentum that had crept in because I had not looked at the manuscript yesterday.
So I sat down at my usual place and got to work. An hour later, I was satisfied with the progress I made, and so I spent some time browsing the bookshelves before returning home.
My usual morning walk with KrA followed. Then lunch. Then I finished the newsletter, headed out for a physiotherapy appointment, and am back here now, typing this, and now I have to leave in a few minutes to pick up D from school.
Back home now after picking up D – he's now lying in bed reading a book – and I have to acknowledge I'm feeling a little low, now that I've finished the newsletter and scheduled it for publication on Sunday.
I always feel a little grief at the end of something I've poured my heart into.
I also feel grief at seemingly irrelevant stuff, like the fact that one of our neighbours is moving this weekend. We're hardly close to them, yet the ripple of change reminds me of how fragile life is, how tenuous it can be. One blink of an eye, and the world can turn upside down.
Which is probably why it is important to remember that only this moment matters at this point in time. Because that is all that exists right now.
When I think along these lines, I also can't help thinking about death, having lost two members of my family in the past year alone and many more in the preceding years.
And I wonder what it would be like when I die. Of course, I will find out some day and not live to tell that tale; but wouldn't that be the most magnificent story of all? The one that everyone would want to read?
Ever since I've started having thoughts like these, I've come to loathe that pithy saying 'Live every day as if it is your last.' That's putting too much pressure!
Because if someone were to tell me that today is my last day on earth, I'd be torn between wanting to finish this post and spending time with KrA and D and travelling to some beautiful place on earth I've never been before.
Sure, death can come any instant, but that doesn't mean we have to remind ourselves of it every moment. Such a course of action would only paralyze us from thinking long term or undertaking a project that would last several days or weeks, such as writing a novel or building a house or planting a garden or travelling to some place new.
I remember writing a short poem voicing this sentiment and posted it on a long-gone Instagram feed on New Year's Day in 2022.
And that is what I will leave you with: a wish for us all to live with awe and wonder, trusting in the unsolveable mystery, the Tao, that lies at the heart of it all.
I wish not to live as if it were my last day on earth.
I wish to live as if it were my very first.
Opening my eyes for the first time,
taking my first breath, my first big gulp of air,
hungry for my first slurp of milk,
content only when I am sated,
crying out loud until my demands are met,
looking at everything and everyone
with wonder and curiosity,
eager to see and touch and hear and smell and feel,
exploring this new life with no consideration
for how easy or difficult it might be,
ignorant of fear and knowledge and judgement,
my spirit still unsullied by the ways of this world.