How do the next 30 years play out, assuming I’m ‘lucky’ enough to live as long as my father did. He died in June from Covid. Shitty way to go, for all of us. It would have been nice to hold his hand, to give him a hug, to sit by his bed and play his music. But that didn’t happen. I’m a little bitter. And I’m still a little sad. I talked to him a lot after he first left, but he never answered back so I’ve just started talking to myself. Sometimes I answer. Sometimes I don’t.
How do the next 30 years play out? Too often, lately, I’m consumed and distressed by the ugliness and greed in this world. It makes me unhappy, so I try to ignore it. Am I irresponsible for not following the madness, all the time? If I do, my heart is broken – all the time. So, to beauty I turn. I go looking for it. If I forget to look for it, I often don’t see it. I see the scum, the anger, the void. Why is that so much easier to see lately than the beauty. The beauty is still there, but it’s harder to find. And if I do find it, it’s harder to stay in it.
I have hot tea by my side. I’ve opted for it over beer or wine because I feel better when I drink hot tea. Not that that’s enough to sway me all the time. Often, too often, I’m lured in by the thought of immediate relief to whatever the day has brought on. But not today. One sip and the heat fills my hollow soul with goodness, and I’m happy I chose it.
How will the next 30 years play out? I ask myself, knowing that much of it is out of my control. I ask myself, because I still believe that much of it is mine to shape. Dad hated vegetables. I tried to encourage them, but he would say “hey, I’m still here”. He was. But not so strong, and often in pain, and always aware of what he called ‘the bus’ that was coming to get him. The bus came. I hope there were some familiar friendly faces on it. I can only hope.
I started smoking pot again. I don’t see it becoming a habit though. I had a knee replacement and the pain was intense and long. Pot helped the pain, but not my brain. Anything more than a minuscule hit puts me into an existential tailspin and leaves me wondering why we aren’t all insane. Maybe we are. I tasted extreme anxiety for a spell, being high (but feeling low), feeling like we were all part of some screeching underground world, allowed to surface for a short time, only to be sucked back into the pits of despair when the ‘bus’ shows up. An hour later, with my pain subdued, I’m relieved to be out of that nightmare and grateful for the physical relief. Slowly, gratitude for my humanness and the planet we share returns. But I went there. I’ve been back once or twice, so perhaps it’s best if I just don’t smoke pot – or anything else that bends my brain. Perhaps. Regardless, I have a new appreciation for those who live with anxiety.
How will the next 30 years play out? I keep asking myself that question. I know that there is only the here and now. This moment is all that really matters. It’s the only one we can really affect, because it’s the only one in the present. But 30 years is a long time, even longer if you’re miserable. Get happy, and it will fly right by. Stay happy, and you won’t really care. The knee replacement was more than I bargained for. I was told the recovery time, but I didn’t really believe it. I thought I was younger, stronger, and healthier than most – so I would zip right through. Almost 8 weeks, and I’m barely walking fast, let alone zipping. BUT the pain is starting to go away and I’m excited about the prospect of a better knee. If I want to really heal and be strong again, I can’t fall back into this habit of drinking every day. IT will have a lot to do with how the next 30 years play out. Every day that I make that decision to habitually wash away the second half of the day, I will decide how the next 30 years plays out. I need more sober friends. I wish my sweet husband had some interest in even a semi-sober lifestyle. Meaning – drink occasionally, like weekends. It’s a good habit to lose, but when my society surrounds me with it, sometimes I’m just too lazy to fight it. And sometimes I enjoy it. But day after day after day… then it just makes me sick and depressed and I have to muster up the energy to fight it all over again, alone. The cycle is nauseating.
I’m away right now in my van. I drove to Maryland to paint and hopefully, find some beauty. There is a lot of it here. It’s everywhere – water, boats, trees, bridges, old cottages. This might be my new escape plan. The drive left me too tired to paint when I arrived. I worked my leg a bit and walked the grounds of a waterfront vineyard without drinking wine. I ate cheese and salami and climbed into the cozy bunk in my van, wondering if 6:30 was too early to go to sleep. Aware of my bulging belly and my atrophied leg, and my disinterest in much of anything I asked myself – how will the next 30 years play out. I thought of my Dad. I pondered death. I pined for my interest in life. I see beauty around me, but I just want to go to sleep. I hope it’s still here tomorrow, and that I have more reserves in the morning to respond to it.
FOLLOWING DAY UPDATE: The beauty was still there, and I had more reserves to respond to it. It wasn’t without sadness, but it was still beautiful.