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"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy, permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ~Jack London

Saturday, March 03, 2007

What's Next?

I ask myself this question a hundred times a day. I do not know what is to come. I do not know where I’ll be a year from now, ten years from now, where I’ll be standing when I take my final breath. It consumes me. It haunts me. It thrills me to think of the endlessness of what could be.

So often I long to be settled into a life. I watch the families that come through my school and long for that kind of stability, that kind of ability to define oneself as a parent, a spouse, a professional. I long for that kind of understanding, because as of right now, I’m just a young, dumb kid with her entire life in front of her. Every decision seems life-altering. Every choice seems to change my future. Every idea I have could be the answer to which path I am supposed to take. It’s sometimes too much, to have such fundamental power over my own existence.

And sometimes, I adore it. In the past few days I’ve gotten a new job offer, a plea to return to school, and an invitation to move to Prague. What’s next? I could go anywhere and do anything and be anyone I choose. There’s something really poignantly grand about that idea.

And still, I do not know what is to come. Perhaps it’s something I have not yet even considered, some new and exciting adventure that hadn’t crossed my mind. The possibilities are infinite.

What I do know, what I have decided for my life, is that I would rather spend my time here doing what I love than waste it preparing for things that may never come. I get stuck in this contradiction. I want to see the world, but want to save enough money to be able to settle one day. I want to own a house, but want to move from place to place, exploring new surroundings and people and ways of life. I want to love people so deeply that to be away from them for a moment means missing them, but I also want to be free enough to leave my world behind.

And to make any one choice means a loss of the other. To live for the moment means to be unprepared for the future. To live for the future means to be unappreciative of the present, and I am now struggling somewhere in between.

What’s next? Well, I’m not sure. All I can really do is be grateful for what has been and what will be. And I am. I’m grateful for all of the adventures I’ve been through and all that are to follow. I am grateful for the choices I’ve made and the choices I am continuing to make and that I have the choice at all. I am grateful that I am alive and living my life.

And I am grateful for the certainty that when I draw that final breath, whenever it may be, wherever I may be, that it will be one of gratitude, of fulfillment, of understanding. I will close my eyes and wonder, what’s next?

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Loss of Za

I know that they both read this. In truth, it’s why I hardly ever write about them as a pair. One I admire more than anyone in this world, the other I’ve never gotten close to. I use those differences as a scale for the people I encounter in my life. The world boils down to two categories; people like my mother and people like my father. People I love more than anything and people I’ll never connect with. There is no middle ground.

When my parents got divorced, I took sides. It could be argued that there were no sides to take. It was, as divorces go, a fairly amicable one. Both seemed to be in equal amounts of pain. Both had tried their hardest to make things work. Both had reached their breaking points. Both understood that it was now time.

Still, my heart was with my mother. She was and is and always has been my best friend. So instead of blaming my parents, blaming divorce, I blamed my father. I blamed him for hurting my mother. I blamed him for hurting me. I blamed him for my confusion about love and life and family and who I am. I blamed him for everything.

And while I am only just now beginning to move past that, the point is, I am beginning. Maybe forgiveness is too strong a word, but certainly I have come to accept that there are things and people in this world that I cannot change. My anger and bitterness towards someone hurts only me, changes only me, into something I cannot forgive myself for. I’m tired of being angry.

On the way home from work a few weeks ago, I began thinking of nicknames. I can’t tell you why, but that’s where my thoughts led me. I thought of the way my mother always called my father “za,” and was suddenly overwhelming saddened by the fact that no one would ever call him that again. “Za” was a part of his life that was now over. It was a part of all of our lives that was now over. She will never speak it again, and he will never hear it.

That was the first time, almost two and a half years later, that I was truly heartbroken that my parents had gotten divorced. It was the first time, almost two and a half years later, that I thought about their divorce without thinking about me, about how it effected my life. They were two people who had struggled to make a love, a life, a family work, and they were two people who finally had to admit that they couldn’t. My parents broke up, and somehow that seemed so much more difficult to say than the word divorce ever had.

I do not know what love is and it is because of my parents. That sounds like blame, but I assure you, it’s not. I don’t know if my parents knew what love was. I don’t know if they know it now. I don’t know if anyone ever really knows it until they know it, and even then, everything can change.

But it is what I think of most when I think of them as a pair. I think of the way I thought I understood something, and the way it instantly disappeared. I think of the way I may never be able to love fully because of it. I think of the way I may be destined to repeat the same mistakes.

And it breaks my heart, because what I want, more than anything, is to believe in love. I want to be able to enter it without fear, without doubt, without the knowledge that so often, things don’t work out the way you’d planned. I want to stop being angry. I want to forgive love for leaving my family. I want to forgive my parents for letting it.

I am sorry that it’s taking so long.