My dad and I used to roll down the car windows on summer days and sing Jimmy Buffet songs at the top of our lungs. I was probably the only 11 year-old who knew every song to the Cheeseburger and Paradise CD compilation. We would laugh at out attempts to harmonize and to do instrumentals with vocals. I can see my father's face so clearing; laughing his hardy laugh and smiling. Life was simple, warm, and good. I think about these times and wonder why life seemed so effortless.
But, I think this is because when you are eleven you actually can't imagine that summer will end. You think that school will never start and you can run through the sprinklers all year long. Yet somewhere you learn life is a little more complicated.
This week I have found myself in the single stall bathroom at work crying my eyes out. I am totally embarrassed to admit this, but this is the only place I can go where I know no one will hear me sobbing. I love my job, but it reminds me daily of the things I need to and want to do in this life. These past few weeks I have taken care of a 32 y/o man with the worst metastatic colon cancer I have ever seen. When you are 32 you are not supposed to get cancer. Explaining it to him is even worse, because when you are 32 the only thing you can think about is fishing in the river and drinking beers with friends. Instead he is in a hospital room with a pain pump and IV nutrition. Perhaps the hardest part of this all is realizing that this man could be me, or anyone of the friends, or family I so dearly love.
As I come upon my 30th year, I have realized more than ever I don't have all the answers. While I might be a little bit wiser, I still struggle on a daily basis on where to go next. In the last several years I have come to appreciate that there is never a reason to go to bed mad, laughter is the best medicine, happiness cannot be sought only found, and that having all the answers is overrated. I have realized that plans were meant to be changed, and that spontaneity is the spice of life. And perhaps most importantly, Love can change people.
I love to make homemade Valentine's day cards, and each year I cut and paste construction papers hearts to a card with one simple quote from Mother Teresa, " Where there is love, there is life." From the single lady who should never give love advice, I do know that when you discover how to love people and things without the requirement of love in return your life will be forever changed. These are the simple things I am trying to live by these days.
Some of the most joy provoking moments of my life revolve around the ordinary. I love long drawn out dinners with friends and family. Last night we went to one of my favorite restaurants in town, where I frequent often. We sat outside under some incandescent lighting and talked and laughed all night. So simple, yet worth every penny. I love running outside, feeling the wind hit me in the face, and hearing the stories of others. I love getting a knock on my door from my neighbor at 9 AM, smiling with a bag of homemade macaroons ready for my taste testing.
So I ask what is holding us back today? I think about all the things I cannot wait to do. The marathons I am going to run or the art classes I am going to take, the swimming lessons to be swum, and wonder why should I wait. Memories are just waiting to be made. Thus I get ready to scurry out of my house to meet up with friends, I can't help but sing:
" I LIKE MINE WITH LETTUCE AND TOMATO, HEINZ 57 AND FRENCH FRIED POTATOES, BIG KOSHER PICKLE, AND A COLD DRAFT BEER, WELL GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY WHICH WAY DO I STEER........"
Have a gorgeous week!