Tuesday, November 27, 2007

the numb toes of the full-flavored life

We were on thin ice. Literally. Ice rinks are generally less than an inch thick, about 3/4" actually. I was concentrating on bending my knees, keeping my ankles straight, and not falling on a sensitive area called the coccyx (also known as the tailbone, the butt, and the badonkadonk).
That's when she asked me the question.
"What do you like most about this season?"
There was a group of us ice skating, trying to remember why it was so easy as a child and so difficult as an adult. (Everything hurts more as a grown up. Everything.)
We were taking a turn around the rink, facing the wind, under the stars, thinking about life's sweet moments, when she asked me the question.
My favorite part of the season.
"I like how everyone tries more." I'm not done yet. Wait for it...wait for it..."It seems people attempt to embrace life during this season, even when things may not be going well. Maybe life isn't great right now. But despite the difficulties, you want to just enjoy the moment, this moment, right now, before the season is gone."
Her favorite part of the season is Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.
Before this night, I hadn't ice skated in years. And I have no idea why.
There I was, surrounded by friends of similar life status (i.e. adult singles), laughing about our balance, counting the toes we COULDN'T feel, trying not to fall, and everyone saying, "Why don't I do this more often?"
Yes, why?
It's odd. When I was a child, a two things defined me: macaroni and cheese and roller skating. Now, I never eat macaroni and cheese - too many carbs, too much gluten, too fattening, too few health benefits, if any. And the last pair of roller skates I owned was before the wheels moved into a single line and were renamed rollerblades.
Somehow, while growing up and trying to experience all the adventures of life, I've stopped living the life I loved. My definition of "life experiences" suddenly became responsible, expected, and goal-oriented. And dull.
I don't play hooky. I don't ruin my supper with sweets. I don't fall asleep in the grass. I don't climb trees. I don't chase the neighborhood dogs and then run away to let them chase me. I don't look for laughter. And I don't consistently embrace the moment.
Instead, I opt out of life's small pleasures because I'm too tired, it costs too much, I don't feel like it, I'd rather sit at home, I've got a big day tomorrow, I won't be good at it, I won't know how, I don't want to fight traffic, I've got laundry to do, dishes to wash, a garage to clean, a lamp to fix, paperwork to complete, emails to return, a nap to take.
This isn't about growing up or even growing old. It's about losing my zeal for life, my thirst for it. What happened to the giddiness? The thrill? When did I stop yearning for the day to last longer?
So now I'm responsible. I'm mature. I'm an adult. Right? That's the answer?
I'm sulking. I'm moping. I'm pouting. I'm not living life because it isn't the life I special ordered. If only I had more money, if only I had more time, if only I weighed less, if only I had better clothes, if only I didn't have so many problems, if only I felt better, if only I looked better, if only I wasn't alone, if only I had what she has, what he has, what they all have.
If only.
I'll just skip this season. I'll enjoy Christmas next year. I'll ice skate next time. I'll be adventurous later. I'll stop waiting and live my life....soon.
But what about now?
It's odd, I understand. But the truth is we only get one life. Just one. This isn't a test. This isn't practice. This is it, the whole enchilada, the combo meal, the prime time. Here is your 15 minutes of fame, your big chance.
Take it. Run with it. Fly with it. Take it ice skating. Laugh with it. Live it up. Paint it red. Steam it. Broil it. Take it on a trip. Take it on a ride. Take it into the unknown. Just take it.
Don't wait. Embracing life isn't worth waiting for.