This has been my year of the crazies. Okay, who are we kidding? All my life is one crazy ball of crazies. It’s like I cannot be happy without things going wrong and me stopping every few miles and thinking ‘Where the hell am I going?!” and then turning back and going back to the fork-roads to choose yet another insane route to follow.
I think I love it. I love being able to question my choices and realising that some are choices I would never change for the last breath of my life and that others are choices that I don’t need to hold on to no matter what.
The toughest lesson for me to learn has been that choices are dictated by principles, but that decisions can temporarily veer from one’s principles. So then the choice is to go back and make another decision that adheres to your principles. The only thing I worry about is that sometimes rethinking a decision has legal, financial and emotional implications. The only thing to do about it is be a big girl and bear the responsibility of it.
SC asked me last night during one of our crazy several hour long late night calls, ‘Can you imagine if people lived like every moment counted, like the world was ending tomorrow?’
We were discussing the hype around the end of the Mayan Calender and all the dooms-day prophecies thrown around the last few years some of which have been completely ridiculous. SC and I don’t subscribe to the usual ideas of the apocalypse and the world ending in one day. But for a moment I stopped to think what people would do if they thought for sure that the world was indeed coming to an end the next day.
The immediate image in my head was anarchy and indulgence. And then SC asks, “How would you live your life?”
I love the hypotheses SC and I sling at each other across phone lines and internet connections. I like the ethical debates we struggle with together. I guess I also love to see how our discussions reflect in the articles he writes for the journals he writes for and that little burst of light at the knowledge I had something to do with the product. I am narcissistic 🙂 I am also very likely head over heels in love with this man’s brain.
But this time, his questions; they touched a nerve. I have been living the last few months with a 40% chance expiration date. My body has been subjected to all kinds of pharmaceuticals that my kidneys and liver are struggling from the strain of having to process it all. A radiation fraction left me thinking it was time after all; time to lay down and hope for a 21-gun salute.
On the outside, unless you catch me on the lowest end of medical treatment, I seem fine. I’m even able to clean up once in a while and go out and pretend like everything is just fine. Business meetings, family gatherings, occasional jaunts to look for books, and movies and more books. But every day for the last few months I’ve been living with the horrid fear at the back of my mind that I may not beat this thing after all.
My choice has been to spend my time doing what I love. Writing – for a moment there, although immersed in the writing world I had lost my passion for the written word. Rediscovering just how much I love to play with words has been such an adventure. Reading – I’ve read more in the last three months than I have in the 12 before that; explored worlds, examined philosophies, enjoyed jaunts with characters I can only imagine. Teaching Kids – I cannot express how wonderful it has been to reconnect with my love for teaching.
Connecting with family – I dread family gatherings; for some reason everyone feels the need to know what I have been doing with my life, who I have been sharing my life with and when I intend to start my own family. This year, I’ve forced myself to look at family in a different perspective. I’ve learnt to enjoy them, to belong, to be me when I am around them. I think they have finally accepted me for the crazy I am. They call me ‘Juliet’ instead of using the diminutive that makes me feel small. They ask for my opinion and it actually matters.
SC and I share one important thing that has come to mean more in the last few months. He and I share Faith – the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld. This faith is not the same as Religion, or Creed, but it is something that guides the choices we make, the things that are important to our lives. Because of this common thread in our life, SC is in a unique position to see how my decisions can lead to choices that will affect my disposition in the future. I have the same perspective on his decisions. And yet we both know that our choices are our own, that in the end the responsibility of choice rests on the one who makes them.
So when he asks how I would live my life if the world was ending in a day, I know what a deep question he is asking. He is asking if every thing that matters to me now would matter if these were in fact the last few hours of my life. He is asking if there is something I have not dared myself to do that I would completely regret not doing if my time was up.
We don’t really worry about time until we are faced with our own mortality – when we lose a friend in death, when we witness tragedy, when we realise we are growing old or when we fall mortally ill. But the majority of the time we just go about making decisions which line up to become choices. Sometimes those choices lock us out of the things we love and should be doing – whether we know it or not.
So maybe that stop every few miles to ask ‘Where in the world am I going?’ is not such a bad thing after all. I just have to be sure when to go back and when to keep going. And when to regret a decision and when to celebrate it even if it had painful consequences. But more important than anything I need to learn how not to feel that I have to justify making choices that line up with my principles even if that has meant rethinking my decisions. It’s a whole lot of learning.