last words

I listen to my german shepherd snore as I lay face up on the bed staring at the ceiling.  Cold season (isn’t that every season in rural towns?) has hit me hard leaving my voice to nothing but a whisper.  The tv is on but somehow the snore trumps the fast paced, endless conversation at my feet.  I switch to watching my little, old poodle’s chest rise and fall with his sleepy breathes.  I imagine what it would be like to see him die, the breath stopping as I watch, so I stare even more intently.

It’s a disease; not the sore throat and stuffy head that’s keeping me in bed all day, but the constant infatuation with death and the realization that it could happen at any second.  When I hit my thirties and realized that the open book was slowly closing shut I started thinking about the end a little more every single day.  This being the third day in a row with a hoarse to non exsistant voice I start to go through the list of all of the people I know (or heard of in this small rural town) that were fine one moment, fell ill the next with a common ailment, and then died.

It’s morbid I know (and I don’t mean the sore throat) but the silver lining is that realizing life is short makes me cherish every moment.  I imagine this is what being on the verge of death feels like (and I imagine that moment a lot).  Those last fleeting breaths are something I don’t want to feel for a very, very long time to come so focusing on the silver lining keeps me in check.  Or maybe it makes me think of death more, but either way I am living life to the fullest.  Even as I lay here voiceless, watching my elderly dogs take what could be their very last breaths.

last words

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After an extended amount of couch deliberation I summoned my energy.  A directionless shell of endless possibilities houses my thirty-two year old soul.  I pushed through my angst filled teen years thinking that the clouds would part somewhere in my twenties, and I would become that driven ___ {insert any random career}.  But it seems that my twenties were filled with so much liberation that I had forgotten to choose a path.  Or maybe I did choose one.

The path of not being tied down.  The path of attention deficiency, impatience, and eternal yearning.  My couch deliberation takes place in a reachable yet secluded cabin.  A cabin surrounded by weeds and a few secret perennials.  I planted myself here four years ago thinking that I needed to grow roots before I became too old to ___ {insert some sort of artsy passion}.  Days of couch deliberation have me wondering why I thought being secluded, invested in a piece of land, would give me the freedom to pursue a tangible future.

Have I boiled down to nothing more than that borderline crazy who is all talk and minimal movement forward?  Successful people say that they worked hard to get to where they are.  And in no way do I doubt that.  However there is a secret element that nearly always steps in.  It produces a magical combustion that sets all things into perfect action.  The mysterious combination of action and desire mixed with surrender and timing is not possible to replicate no matter how hard one tries.  Not to mention, the calling isn’t always clear.

Life is short.  Some people panic when they find a new mole; I panic when I think that I may die without being significant.  Not famous or popular or even ___ {insert a young hip street term that means “cool”}.  When the couch deliberation involves half a bottle of wine I start to ponder the idea that maybe my calling is just to search for my calling.  Or maybe my calling is to try to have as many new passions as possible at any given time.  Who says I can’t be a small town makeup artist/undercover children’s book author/landscape artist who frequently ends up with lengthy spreads in home and garden magazines?  I’ll tell you who says I can’t… it’s moi (did I include part time French resident in that list?).  It’s my biggest enemy, my most evil of critics, the lack of confidence that is solely the voice in my very own head.

So I can become a birder.  The required amount of vulnerability is zero.  I can do it privately but successfully.  The cabin is ideal.  Heck, even the couch is close enough to the window to see two male hummingbirds fight for territory of the feeder. So it is on the list; right up there with all of the other passions requiring minimal action.  And the list is not a short one.  “This is me now!” I say to my spouse, quoting a cartoon character that frequently changes his identity.  My husband rolls with it, so far as even cooking dinner when my couch deliberation passes 6pm.

I am not irresponsible.  The main purpose of this search is to find a way to make money and not dread the eight hours a day it takes to pay the car loan and the student loan and keep the fridge full of organic food.  I dip my toes in things that pay the bills, all the while thinking that if my big break doesn’t happen sooner or later I will have to find other means.  This could be it, just dabbling, a whole lot of dabbling.  In the end I will be able to say I tried, a lot.  But in the end I don’t want to still be on the couch thinking I should have changed locations for the billionth time or worked harder at my day job or tried something completely different that I never thought possible.  In the end I don’t want to think that I should have spent less time on the couch daydreaming.  It is time to get up and continue moving and flowing and being open and ready and ___ {insert something optimistic and preferably French}.

The verdict is in, I need confidence.

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