My life feels like it’s one of tragedy but not one where these things happen to me. Instead, they happen to those around me. I’m the survivor in the horror movie, watching, despite my efforts as my friends and lovers are murdered. I know that is not what actually happened. That they each died as a product of a series of choices. But knowing and feeling are different. I miss them. Want to hold them one more time, but know that I can’t.
So I come with this legacy. What is, oh so endearingly, called baggage. Which is apparently bad? People want, what, a blank slate? My past makes me mindful. It makes me aware of the fleeting nature of people in this world. If I fall in love too fast, it’s because because I know how quickly it can all come apart. If I hold you a little too close or worry a bit too much, or want to be with you more often it’s because I know that life is by its nature ephemeral. That it’s fleeting, hurtling past us. Seconds and hours spent doing things we don’t love for people we don’t respect surrounded by people we don’t know or maybe just don’t like.
We are all fighting the entropy of existence. But that’s too big, too difficult. So we hide in stories not our own. We escape from our world and into ones constructed for us. We seek out adventure. Which I hate. Adventure is what happens when plans go awry. Which is fine and be prepared for it but don’t seek it out. “I just want some adventure.” Really, you want to not know what is coming, you want stark terror and fight or flight to be a real in your face thing? No, what you want is excitement. You want to feel the new, you want to feel like everything is possible, that the night isn’t going to end. That tomorrow and work, taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, and all those small actions that make up life are not coming.
I understand, I do. But why not plan for tomorrow but experience today. Don’t let the seconds slip by. Don’t leave the things you want to say unsaid. If you feel like saying something say it.
As the years pass, I regret the things I didn’t do. Some large, some small. Not going with Sara. Not helping that person crying, desolate in a sea of strangers. Not telling the person who sat two rows in front of me, way at the back of Symphony hall listening to Mozart that they were the most heart stoppingly beautiful person. She had red hair and was wearing what looked like a sun dress. The actions we take are the ones that we generally remember. I remember those, but it’s the ones I don’t take, the ones whose futures are lost to me that I regret.