Reading Kimberly Harrington's magnificent treatise on being a mother, a woman, a worker bee, a wife, on this confusing and enchanting trip called A Lifetime inspired in me a desire to go back and re-read the book I threw together a few years ago during some dark days of winter when I basically said, Fuck it, it's now or never. I don't recommend this as a means to move your book into the world, but it worked pretty well at the time and I'm glad I did it. But re-reading it this morning opened my eyes to a few things.
Namely, the fact that I could read the whole thing in about as much time as it took me to drink a cup of tea is the first not good thing about it. The second is that it could be better.
But I guess, of course, with pretty much everything we look back on in this life we think, coulda done a better job there. This includes but is not limited to parenting, forgiving, loving, making time to be with friends, the graduate thesis, all four years of college, forgiving our parents and thanking the flowers for making the world so pretty.
I also have a sickening feeling I should have read the fine print more often in life. I signed a lot of things and signed on for a lot of things that I didn't know I was signing on for.
But maybe that's how we're supposed to do it, just kind of go for it, with a bucket of love in one hand to splash over all the crappy parts. I harbor a belief that when we die we get a few minutes, maybe even an hour, of life review. I'm choosing to believe that we have the opportunity to take a look back at the whole shebang and I do this because it sometimes helps me be aware, when I'm screwing up, that I'm going to cringe when I get to Life Review. I'm hoping to minimize the cringe when the hour comes.
I'm hoping, I really hope I can, maximize the awe.
The thing that re-reading my book did for me was remind me of how incredible my life has been, in terms of sheer book fodder. To be honest, I was kind of amazed by the range of experiences I've had so far, the places I've been, the people I've met, the things I've tried. It made me happy, to think that the 52 years I've been here have been ... interesting. I've done some cool shiz since I got here, a wee little North Dakotan elfin with mismatched legs.
I mean, come on, let's face it. No one knows how or why these things play out the way they do. Everyone I know looks back at their life with a kind of surprise that their life happened to them. It makes me wonder what we were all thinking back in the teenage years. Because, if I recall correctly, we weren't thinking at all. We were having lots of fun, experimenting with ideas and styles and dogmas and drugs.
It's kind of funny how all of us 50-something people are looking back over one shoulder and saying ... wait ... how did ...
all these years pass by?
I become this person?
my kids turn out so well?
I end up here?
How did a whole life happen already? And Christ, I want some of that time back!
Reading my book, reading Kimberly's book have reminded me of something important: all of this is really great. It is. ALL OF IT. We're born; if we procreate and then we get to watch parts of ourselves moving through this world; we get old, it's hard, and then we die.
Your guess is as good as mine what happens then. If there is a The Review, I want to laugh for most of it, not cry. I want Wow! to be the thing I say, not Fuck. Being disappointed in oneself sucks, but being disappointed in oneself and not having the chance to right the ship sucks times infinity.
If there is a God waiting there for me, I want my greeting to be Thank You and not a sheepish and pathetic Can I have a do-over?
I love you all so very much; you're a major part of the reason why all of this has been so ... interesting. Please come to the Pawlet Community Church tomorrow morning at 9:30 to revel with me in my amazement at this loving and level-headed community having survived three years of me. Amen.