This is the place where it starts to fall apart,
just far enough from the starting line to have engaged the heart,
And so obviously fear rushes in
To remind me that I never finish things that I begin
A schedule of stretching, writing, habits beneficial
The notion I can’t do it just fucking silly, prejudicial
Content doesn’t matter, more the act of pushing through
To ignore the fear and say, “I know I can, and so I do.”
Day five was supposed to be about last words. If you only had a week to live, what would you want to share with the world? Or whatever. Talking about death tends to make me uncomfortable but not in the way one might think. I’m happy to speak of the inevitability of it, but I hesitate to expound on the speculation. Perhaps it’s superstition, or an inherent belief that I invite those things I focus on, but it feels arrogant to pretend I would know what I would say, given a very real and temporal best before date.
The reality is, this kind of thing makes me think of my dad, makes me think of anyone who was ever handed a “you’re probably going to be dead by this point” endgame scenario. I wonder if there is a percentage in there who feels relief at the directness of that. The rest of us are wandering around, knowing somewhere in the subcutaneous layer of our being, that it could end at any moment, but there’s no way to know for sure when that moment is. Or how.
I’ve often said (and will continue to say) that I’m going to live to be 111 and on my eleventy-first birthday I will put on the ring and disappear from the shire forever, aka walk into the ocean. I feel like that’s a nice long time to experience some stuff, and a nice way to finish things off. Head back to the sea, the way the whales did so freakin long ago.
That’s my way of pretending I have any sort of control over what happens to me. Of course there are things I can do within my own sphere of influence to mitigate risk of bailing in advance of that but the reality is, anything can happen.
I think a better question than what would I say might be what would I do? There is much talk of bucket lists, of all the things one might want to do/see/experience before the final curtain call. I have a list that I made 12 years ago, on New Years Day 2006. I was laid up on a sofa with a really badly twisted ankle having missed a good portion of the new year because of hangover and injury, and was terrified that there were so many other things I was missing out on. So I made an extensive list.
I revisited it tonight.
Most of the things I’ve accomplished on the list didn’t come about because of my focus on checking them off, making sure that I did all the things like I was in some existential scavenger hunt. Most of it was incidental, incremental, showing up in those moments when I forgot to focus on all the things I needed to do to feel like I was succeeding, and just living my life.
And there are many things on the list that I’ve outgrown, because that happens. The things I desired when I was younger have evolved, become refined. I guess the most important part has to be, if I did have a limited time left (I do, albeit 70 years or so) is there anything on that list I would regret not having done? And that doesn’t suggest that there isn’t a ton of stuff I want to do/try/see/eat/climb/laugh with, but I’m lucky enough to say that the answer is no.
So maybe that would be the thing I’d say, the thing I’d want to share. Simple, but pretty goddamn accurate.
I’m good, thanks.