It was my half birthday on Thursday--and also the 10 year anniversary of my father's death. I like how those two things collide, combine, overlap. I like that each year it marks a midway point for my own year passing. It reminds me to lean into the hours, the days, the weeks that are yet mine. This year, perhaps more than ever I've made it my purpose to say yes. To approach every encounter, chance meeting, and circumstance as an opportunity: to grow, to become, to expand. The universe isn’t binary. Yes and no aren’t mutually exclusive. Our feet know--arrival and departure our temporary states, and we're always in between. Sole to soil, soul to air.
Right now I’m at the ACE in NYC. I’ve slipped off the cusp of my life and arrived at the center of myself. Maybe that sentence doesn’t make sense at all, but it’s the truth. I needed to slip away, to feel the city’s pulse in order to feel my own again.
Sometimes, when you are in the thick of your life, doing the day, one thing to the next, the map of your own meaning becomes obscured. Then it’s time let things fall out of kilter; tip the balance; rock the boat. Then it’s time to find new map, or to make one boldly, even if it means that no one else has arrived yet, on that same course.
Being somewhere new helps me to disentangle from the constructs of my life: mother, strategist, writer, lover, spouse. Showing up for oneself without any of those words is daunting, but gowth is only equal to our willingness to risk, to show up, to be split wide open by our lives again and again.
I think Didion has it right:
“I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I'm just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave's a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that's what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”
― Joan Didion, in a 1975 commencement address at the University of California, Riverside.