If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

11 September 2006

Shaking and stirred

This weekend was a veritable cacaphony of feelings, all smashed up together in something loud and impressive, but not even closely resembing harmony. I bet you can identify:

With that feeling like you just want to grab someone firmly by the shoulders and shake him vigorously? Because you're standing there, watching, while that person does something colossally, immeasurably stupid and it seems like everyone can see it but him? Situational blindness; we all have it - about something.

You can identify with that feeling - the combination of helpless and hopelessness, because you know you can't do it; reach out and shake him. Mostly because your arms don't reach that far. But even if they did, you would fight yourself to keep them still at your side. Because it wouldn't matter. Because we all have to own our situational blindness. Sometimes, that's all we have: pointless action; the flailing of arms frantically trying to stop a freefall through the narrow point in the hourglass. Falling is scary. But you must. Because the truth of the matter is that even if you succeed in stopping it temporarily, there's nowhere to go but down - in this case, forward - reversing back "up" the hourglass does not exist.


And aside from all that, I bet you can identify with the feeling of knowing that you really, really don't want to go OUT THERE and DO something; that you'd rather go back into your comfy, cozy shell and stay there. But (sigh) you know you must ... push yourself out there. OhGod, it's akin to coming out of the womb, every fucking time, and it doesn't get easier. But you put on your party shoes and lipstick, grab a bottle of wine, and march yourself out the door. And once you're there, you're glad you pushed. Because life is made up of moments like this.

Fleeting moments of laughter, of greasy fingers and the most amazing ribs on a grill, of a shy smile from a child, of a glance and a nod across the crowded piazza, sitting under the night sky eating homemade gelato. The moment when you realize that someone is a kindred spirit. Of peace amidst the chaos. Of the song beneath the song. The moment when you know that you know. Clarity. Shhhhhh.

Those moments are, ultimately, all we have.
Each is a card in the hand of the game of life.
The joy is (should be) in playing, not in the outcome.


You can identify, probably, with feeling like sometimes you just put one foot in front of the other, uncertain of where you're going, but that you think you'll know it when you get there. In the meantime, you know you must keep ... moving. Purposefully if you can, or just float with the current. Fight against the urge to flail. And you learn something new every day. And you savor the moments, adding cards to your hand, uncertain of how the game will end.


You can identify, I hope, with having a friend who loves you so much that it's almost as if he knows exactly what you need, when you need it. Yesterday, a little cranky after receiving the not-so-welcome-news that I have an unexpected trip back to the states in four weeks, I got this card in the mail:

"i was never meant to fly coach!"

And he's right, of course. About all of it: that running 'to' is much, much harder than running 'from'. That things will work out, the way they're supposed to. That it's about playing the game, even when it's hard. And that I was never meant to fly coach. (Though it seems neither my budget nor my boss has gotten that message?)


Sometimes life deals you a hand you don't quite know how to play.
But you can't fold.
You're in the moment.
Stay in the game, bluff your way through it, and pray you draw a window seat.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, just wanted you to know that I have tried SO MANY TIMES to comment but I can't do it when I'm logged in anymore, and sometimes a girl just can't be bothered to write the same message over and over again...

Just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten about you :)

baci, Annika

11:23 PM  

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