On the Weekend

July 27, 2016

"Parfois on regarde les choses
Telles qu'elles sont
En se demandant pourquoi
Parfois, on les regarde
Telles qu'elles pourraient être
En se disant pourquoi pas"

Life won't be good all the time. Despite all my efforts to live with an open mind and love of saying "yes" to errythang, life continues to alternate between feeling something like Honey BooBoo winning her pageants and then the real life Appalachian-cultured family that probably should not have been granted a show for exploiting their child on TV. Sometimes, it seems like we all just work to set things up like a little wind-up toy parade that we then sit and watch go by. We sit and wait for the weekend. And then that's life.

I looked at the houses on the hills in the distance while running around the lake recently and realized how similar they are to the vistas I coo over when perusing Airbnb on wanderlusty evenings. Normally, I just appreciate the view, but something inside me that morning felt weighted, as though everything in the world is indeed the same, just with different spices and words, so I would tire of it sooner than I'd hoped and there's really no point to traveling at all. Now, I know damn well that traveling to Paris is a nose I will forever be trying to boop, but the reality fades the longer I go between adventures, which I really cannot afford very often.

So you might say, "Grace, what will you ever really do about your tidal malaise?" Well!! I'm so glad you didn't ask so I pretended you did! And now I'll tell you. These concerns that life is inevitably going to feel as devastating as sitting through the thousandth viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey may always come and go, but seem to have less effect when I am regularly injecting a little action. That's right. Life is a thoughtful work of cinematic art and I am but an attention deficit black hole for stillness, compelling Michael Bay to come deliver us all from our placid settlements in the dust.

In my efforts to lessen the grief of summer blockbuster lulls, OK, I admit, I saw the bucket list movie about the old guys who want to live before they die. It was utterly predictable and blah blah blah, but the sentiment that I'd hoped would reach me more profoundly was embodied in a nice line towards the beginning, spoken by everyone's surrogate god, Morgan Freeman: "You measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you."

When I watch Michelle Obama speak about the kind of world she wants her girls to grow up in . . . I get shivers. I have witnessed history. I want to read more and help others more. I want to have a little girl who looks up to strong women. I want her to want equality and love and science and making the world a better, more inclusive place for everyone. And I want to live in a way that I may one day inspire someone the way Michelle Obama has inspired me. I aim to be some sort of positive influence on someone.

To live a fulfilling life and be someone others would want to be like, I'd have to plan ahead. So, what do I want to have done before I die? I think of a bucket list as something like sentence stems, so I will start by feeding lines to future me and seeing what comes out:
  1. I was out early one morning enjoying the town before most people were out and . . . I saw a Tesla with a vanity plate that said, "GAS PFF.", telling me there are people out there who are simultaneously smart, rich, and believe in science! A downright decent statement that this poor gas-guzzling plebeian is grateful for. Good, rich Tesla person was also shortly thereafter cut off by a sporty BMW driver, whose nod whilst committing the offensive act suggested my snap judgement was spot on. This bullet point already happened and just deserved an honorable mention.
  2. I was in France eating a croissant at a sidewalk cafe and . . . Jean Dujardin walked by, but paused as he noticed me watching him completely wide-eyed. He instantly knew exactly what I was thinking and we performed a spontaneous tap dance right there in La Marais before he swept off to his business of being a movie star and I continued with the task of enjoying my spot-on croissant.
  3. I was scuba diving in Thailand when. . . a ray of sunshine reflected off an unusual shell blinded me momentarily and then I found myself in a dolphin city, which I'd been invited to due to the dolphins' ability to inherently know I love them. We had tea (underwater?), talked about our existential philosophies and then I was escorted back to my beach to live a better life.
  4. One morning, at our cabin in the peaks of Maine . . . a white stallion emerged from the forest and I was so old that I couldn't see it anymore because my eyes were bad and it blended in with the snow. At least I'm an old lady in a nice place, you know?
  5. You'd think . . . Vegemite would really be gross, but as I . . . sat in Amanda Palmer's backstage hangout and Neil Gaiman offered me a taste and it turned out . . . it IS really gross! And we laughed and laughed.
  6. I was out for coffee with my mom when . . .she said something that made us both laugh so hard we peed our pants a little.
  7. Having lived in France like a French person, fluent, and surrounded by history. . . I feel extra appreciative of the customs I grew up with because they are augmented by the new!
  8. Having seen as much of the world as it takes to feel satiated . . . I felt ready to settle in Idaho with the potatoes and mountains, so long as I had what really mattered to me.

As you can see, there's plenty of make-believe to make happen! So, become a petri dish for exquisite moments - a place where they're just bound to happen because it is simply set up for them. Seek out the giggly joy that happen with those closest to you. You can't fake those moments. You can only look forward to the serendipitous circumstances that lead to them and so I aim to be the gross jelly in a circular tray needed for those silly little colonies to grow and support more silliness.

I am forever concerned with the fear that my life may end sooner than I would hope, but taking action helps. The above isn't a real bucket list, per se, but more of a writing exercise to get myself thinking about what I really do want out of life. It's like Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail said -"So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?"

One day, whether we like it or not, dead or alive still, we will be surrounded by people saying goodbye to us, their eyes full of pity and tears. All we can do to make that moment less painful for everyone involved is ensure that our life was not one to be pitied, but to be admired. Live every day like you're on the weekend. Don't wait for fall. Learn to love summer. Don't hope for more money. Do what you can with what you have. Don't wait. I don't want the people standing around me one day thinking, "How tragic." I want them to say, "Whoooo, girl, she lit this place UP! Best hope the world has plenty more busy little bees because the good she spread around will be hard to match."


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