I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately. I’ve realized that I struggle with something every day. It isn’t always the same something, but it’s always something. I struggle with my career or deadlines or my body or my health or my daughter – every day is a fight. Every once in a while, I naively find myself thinking, “I can’t wait until such and such, when we are so and so, and everything is just right.” All my life, I’ve been thinking this. It’s not always the same such and such, and my definition of “everything” has changed a bit. But I’m always looking forward to it. Always thinking that some day, it will come.
For nearly forty years.
I have a dress in my closet that I never wear. I keep waiting for the right occasion, the right weather, the right place to take it to. It’s beautiful. It’s exactly the kind of thing I want to drape myself in, twirl in, and breathe in. It’s long and white and diaphanous, like the gown of a fairy princess. But I’ve never worn it. Not even once. I keep telling myself, “I’m going to look so beautiful in that when I wear it.” Whenever that is going to be.
My best friend died of ovarian cancer two and a half years ago. A close friend of the family committed suicide last October. My cat died last month. A friend’s young son-in-law suddenly died yesterday, leaving behind three children under the age of ten and a wife in pieces. All of you probably have similar stories, but right now, it begs noticing.
It’s been said a billion times, and I think that because of this, it has unfortunately lost some of its meaning. But the fact is, life is short. So short. We never know how long we have. Today? Tonight? Next week?
I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately. But mostly, I’ve been thinking about how it ends. Because it always does. What precious percentage of my life allotment have I spent looking forward to the rest of it? Waiting for such and such so that everything will be just right? Life always ends. And when mine does, I don’t want that to be the day that I am finally seen wearing that dress because that’s what my husband placed me in for my funeral.
Screw that. I’m going to wear it today.
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death.” – William Shakespeare