Friday, November 17, 2017

Creature of Habit

The thing about coping mechanisms, addictions, and eating disorders is that even years into recovery, they still like to present themselves as your first recourse whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation.

For the last few months, I think I can safely admit that I was depressed.
Back in August, after a trip for a family wedding that, while in no way disastrous, felt extravagant and unappreciated, I began to tumble down an all too familiar chasm of anxiety.
It was partially spurred by the the use of a substantial amount of funds for the trip and my concern that it didn't leave us with "enough" to make ends meet through the rest of the year.

That's right, I started worrying about things in December back in August.

It was compounded by the relentless terrible news I saw in the media every day.

I kept worrying about how i could take care of my son, how I could protect him, how was I going to make up for the fact that I'd brought him into a terribly dangerous world where people purposefully ignored the environment, turned away the hungry and hurt from their doors, fought over meaningless social platforms, and burst into schools, concerts, and churches to murder each other. In this world, it wasn't safe to walk down the street because a nazi/terrorist in a truck could plow into you just for having the gall to protest the normalization of bigotry and hatred.

Before long I was drowning in fear. I couldn't control anything. I couldn't even financially care for my family because no matter how many jobs I applied for or freelance positions I wrote samples for, or manuscripts I sent out, I never got a bite.

My feelings of inadequacy multiplied and bred in the shadow of these fears. They began to consume my sleep, my time with my son, my relationships, my body, myself.

I should warn you. This is not a comeback kid story. This is not a "And then I had an epiphany and turned my whole life around" story.

This is the truth.

I cried every day.
I retreated from conversations with friends because I didn't want to tell them how poorly I was doing.
I called my dad every day and talked to him for fifteen minutes before hanging up because every time I thought he would say the thing that made me feel better, he was a human being and just asked me how the baby was doing, and whether I'd tried a new recipe for bread, and what book I was reading, and I couldn't fathom being a normal person who wanted to bake bread, or had the concentration to read a book, or could accurately describe how her child was, because everything was terrible, I was terrible, nothing made any sense, and I was somehow still falling, always falling, always getting sadder, more anxious, wondering if this was how it would be from now on.

And this went on until about two weeks ago.
Around the end of October, I realized I hit rock bottom.
I looked around rock bottom, and I don't have to tell you what it looked like because I think you know, but I got there, and I knew, this was a different rock bottom than the one I had reached at 28 when I decided I needed therapy, or at 22 when I looked into the ocean one day and thought how nice it would be just to smash myself to pieces on the rocks to make my head go silent once and for all.

This time rock bottom was a moment of walking to the park. A storm had just blown through, and ripped mighty limbs from trees. Our neighbor's shed had lost its roof. Power zapped out through many neighborhoods including our own. And in that morning light, after the storm, with all the wreckage lying about, the wind still very strong and wild, it was oddly warm out.

I had been crying all morning, but needs must, and I took the baby for his daily dose of fresh air and found the park deserted.

Which made sense. Anybody with half a brain was probably tucked inside safely away from all the debris.

I took the baby out of his stroller, and we went down to the ocean and looked at the waves.
They were crowding the shore, chewing at it hungrily and the sound of thousands of rocks clacking against each other was deafening.

I picked up a stone. It was round.
And I realized that the ocean wasn't responsible for rounding its edges the way I'd always believed. The ocean just bashed the rocks against each other and it was the friction of touching all those stones, tumbling about in a senseless torrent of waves, that smoothed them down and made them blunt.

And it wasn't an epiphany, but it made me think about how much I had been blaming the universe and the state of the world for being fucked up and making me miserable, when it had nothing to do with an omniscient force and everything to do with all the other people, all the other rocks, and me allowing them to smash into me over and over and over and feeling like it was out of my hands, and that I had no control over being stuck in this wave.

But that isn't how it has to be at all.

And a little voice said, "the good thing about hitting rock bottom, is that there's nowhere to go but up."
And i felt better.

It was an increment better.
It was a sliver better.
But it was the first time in three months I could remember feeling any bit better instead of worse.

So I got a job at the local coffeshop working part time so that I didn't need childcare, and I could still spend my days with the baby.


*


When describing one's life, it is easy to get sucked into the desire of fitting one's story into a narrative.
I want you all to leave off with me on that shoreline, wind-whipped cheeks and howling with renewed fervor for life, but that is not the end of my story.

It is not even the end of my depression's story, because life is too many simultaneous narratives to ever possibly fit into such a neat and tidy description: beginning-conflict-resolution-end.

So I got a part time job, and I began to work on my anxiety, and I stopped going on facebook or instagram as much, and I cut certain media outlets out of my life, and I slowly, incrementally, started to feel like perhaps there was a point to what I was doing. Perhaps it wasn't a terrible idea to bring a child into this world, to hope that there might be a future for him that didn't look like my worst nightmares.

Things like to settle into grooves, habits, and routine.

I could work at a coffeeshop in Berlin and it would be just a slightly differently nuanced version of the same thing I've been doing for the last fifteen years.

So this is a new cafe, but the same old habits.
The offensive music we save for the closing.
The pastries we fight over to take home at the end of the day rather than throw them out.
The elaborate shift drinks.
The bad jokes.
The regulars.
The terrible customers.
The mopping.
The cuts and bruises I don't remember receiving.

And I come home at ten o'clock at night, starved from the running and carrying and lifting and cleaning, and I can feel the old monstrous crutches lean into me heavily as I enter the darkened kitchen.

The same demons that always lived here telling me to eat until I want to die.
Eat because I didn't have time to during my shift.
But keep eating because I hate myself.
Keep eating because you have to go back tomorrow.
Keep eating because you're lonely, because you miss your kid, because you miss your kid but you don't want to see him right away when you get home because you haven't actually had a moment's peace.
Keep eating because you don't remember how to listen to your body, because your body is a stupid, wretched thing that you have no control over, that will fail you, is failing you, failing you constantly, every moment, even now.

So it is a small victory but an important one,
that I make a grilled cheese sandwich.
I put butter in the pan, slice up the good, homemade bread.
arranged the cheddar pieces so that they meet the edges of the bread and then press down with the spatula to get that golden toasty outside, with the hot, molten, salty interior.

I make the grilled cheese because making something to eat was also never how I used to come home from a shift.

Then I take it, and I sit down in front of the computer, and I put on a site that I can stand to read, that isn't terror infused, and I eat the sandwich slowly. I taste it. I drink a glass of water to wash it down.
When I get to the last bite, it is the best bite, the corner bit with the toastiest edge and the meltiest cheese. I savor it, and then I finish my water, and then I finish the article I am reading.

I brush my teeth, and then I retrieve my child, and I go to bed.

The smallest victory, but no less important, because it is so starkly different from how I ever sought comfort in the past.

And there is still a voice that screams:

You pig!
Bad mother!
Terrible person!

But it sounds hollow and desperate now.
There is a voice bigger than it, and it sounds like a wave filled with tumbling rocks, and all the ocean behind it, and it says,
"Good. Now sleep. You've done all that you can."

And it is enough.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Worthy

We threw out our scale a few weeks ago.
In fact, I haven't weighed myself in a month, and it wouldn't be that big of a deal if I didn't think about it, every, single day.

See, weighing myself and seeing a number that corresponded with the idea I had fo no logical reason decided to be the most virtuous helped me make sense of my life.

I struggle a great deal with feeling worthy.
As in, I don't.

I won't go into the litany of things from my childhood and young adulthood that destroyed my sense of personal value, but I will boil it down to the three sentences I hear inside my own head more than any other words:

"You don't matter."
"Who do you think you are?"
and the biggie...
"It's okay for everyone else, but not for you."

These tenants run just about every decision I make, and back when I had a full blown eating disorder, I created an elaborate system of behaviors that governed whether I could feel worthy that day.

Doing 2,000 sit ups=worthy (no matter if it took two hours and rubbed all the skin off my spine leaving me with a bloody scab I had to cover with make up).

Not going for a walk because I had too much homework=unworthy

As an adult in recovery, I have worked really hard to  listen to my body and approach my behaviors with curiosity over judgement and forgiveness over shame.

But I still had my scale.

Is it any wonder that, after we threw out the scale, I began to have a real problem with my self worth?

I was unaware of how so much of what I chose to feel about myself was decided by that arbitrary, whimsical number.

I could read all day about how weight is irrelevant to health, muscle versus fat density, body positivity, and HAES, but the information never traveled further than skin deep.

Nevertheless, I am experiencing a reckoning.

I,
-
a thirty five year old woman with multiple degrees, several completed manuscripts, a husband, a son, good friends, a safe neighborhood, and a view of the ocean a ten minute walk from my door,
-
DO NOT KNOW IF I AM WORTH ANYTHING BECAUSE I CAN'T TELL HOW MUCH I WEIGH.


Now, my first reaction is to berate myself for being so stupid, superficial, and easily manipulated by our fucked up media and society's perceptions, BUT,
that is one of the fundamental parts of the problem.
I am far too quick to judge myself as faulty or stupid or morally corrupt for fastening onto something so arbitrary, but isn't this an important moment for me?
Realizing that my inherent value has nothing to do with a measurement, and more importantly my brain doesn't know how to imbue itself with worth if a body isn't involved, is a big deal

But now what?
How do I change these destructive habits I have practiced for so many years? How do I teach my brain to throw out the veritable lego kingdom built out of millions of bricks of doubt and coping mechanisms of thirty odd years?
Is this really why  throwing out the scale was so scary I couldn't actually bring myself to do it?
Is this why I didn't actually do it until my husband handed it to me and told me to take it outside and junk it?

Ugh.

So here I am, a girl standing in front of a mirror, asking it to love her.

No strings, no scales, no immediate pay off.

No caloric equations that will somehow placate the mind into believing something was managed.

No balancing of scales of any kind, no measurements, literally, just a girl and her mind, a girl and her body as vehicle, as sensory receptor, as child creator and sustainer, just a body for god's sake!

Nothing more, certainly,
but finally, nothing less. 





Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Snowball's Chance

You know how sometimes you're chugging along, doing your thing, and something comes along and hits you like a mac truck?
Maybe it was something you were prepared to have interrupt your routine, like, say a trip to the top-middle of the country for a wedding...
You tie up all your loose ends, doing laundry, emptying the fridge of perishables, and taking out the trash so it doesn't fester in your seven day absence.
You arrange for the dog to spend the time with your Dad in Maine where she can run about in the woods and be fattened up with sneaky table scraps.
You get a friend to stop by the house and feed the cat. You transfer money and budget for gas. You make seventy six checklists and you shockingly get out the door on the day at the time you planned for, and like tumblers in a lock, everything clicks like it's supposed to.

Then, a mid-west relation on your husband's side, someone with too much make up, or bad breath from a sour stomach, shakes your hand, touches the baby's cheek, or kisses you hello beside your eye, and introduces a fucking cold germ.

The trip continues to go pretty much as planned.

I mean, sure, the world is in chaos, terrible things are happening that make your too anxious to eat regularly. You make some poor decisions like drinking diet coke at four in the afternoon because you're doing that whole "vacation with a baby not sleeping thing," and you maybe eat two frosted rose cookie favors from the wedding while lying in a hotel bed one night after you flee the wedding because it didn't start until 6pm, and so the baby went into meltdown just as they brought out the entrees, and so you haven't eaten anything but half a bread roll and three forkfuls of wilted romaine in italian dressing.

But these are all details that get lost in the relief as soon as you set foot in your own house a week later.

Except you wake up the following day with a head full of bees and a throat paved in crushed glass.
You, your Beard, and your baby, are sicker than a pack of dogs, and due to all the travel and emotional strain, it knocks you out for yet another week.

By the time you get back on your feet, it's almost the third week of August.
You're hurtling well toward Autumn with many stores already shuffling in their Halloween decor, and a desire to drink hot coffee and sit outside beside a smoky fire and eat apple after apple.

or at least that's what you want it to be.

That anxious feeling in your stomach never went away.

In fact, now that you have the biggest financial commitment of the year, and the requisite gnarly cold out of your way, you have nothing but the hideous world to focus on.

You want to be enjoying the last beach days. You take the baby to the beach during the eclipse thinking it will be magical, but instead the water is choked with foul smelling algae, and you flee the stench after ten minutes under the sickly half-sun.

The class you've had to reschedule twice now has to be cancelled due to an open house, and your baby won't take a nap, and your fall classes don't have enough sign ups to run yet, so you're anxiety takes hold of money fears, and you find yourself swinging back and forth between nausea and ravenous hunger, fear and survival, self loathing and self preservation.

Your need for stability and reassurance is constant. You get no succor from talking to people who ordinarily make you feel better, hopeful, like you matter, like you can make things better.

That's what it all boils down to.



Control.


You have so little right now.

With a child who you want to leave a wonderful world, a world better than the one you brought him into.

With an old demon that threatens its ugly rise every time you feel ineffective and lost.

With all the small grievances snowballing against you its really difficult to stay warm and be certain you'll get back to safety.

I feel like I'm trapped inside an avalanche and I don't know which way is up.

But, I've got to spit, and see which way it falls, and then start digging.
I have to dig my way out, and trust the sun is shining once I'm free.







Friday, August 4, 2017

It's Friday.

So there are only three days left before the great Cronk roadtrip to Detroit MI for Cronk the younger's wedding.

This meant my brain thought it would be a wonderful time (at around 3am this morning) to list all the things I haven't done yet to prepare for said road trip, namely the copious amounts of laundry.
Also, I think Baz is teething again because he's been night nursing a ton, and while I was listing laundry, counting phone chargers, and trying to figure out if we needed to bring all of the books the baby wants to read, I was also fantasizing about eating peanut butter, tortilla chips, and frozen bananas.

I feel like I need to blog more regularly, so that I come across as less of a psycho and more of a human, so here's a recap of my week.

Monday-
I finished reading the pieces written by the students in my Magical Fiction class and doodled notes on them. I spent an hour on zillow looking at apartments in Portsmouth and Dover, NH, which are beautiful, and much more affordable than the North Shore.
Still, we don't really have the extra moolah to move right now, so I got depressed and strapped the now 30lb baby to my chest and went for an extra long walk to clear my head. I toodled down to the Beverly market for the first time this year and bought some corn and zucchini. I was surprised at how little produce there was in comparison to how many stands were selling bread. I hung out at the Pigs Fly stand drooling over their stuff for longer than I probably should have considering I don't think buying bread makes sense when I have Fang (my homegrown starter) lurking in the fridge waiting to be turned into magic.

Tuesday-
My Dad came down in the afternoon to hang out with the baby and help with the childcare so I could leave for my class in Boston. We drank tea and ate slices of the zucchini bread I baked that morning. Auntie Rex came over and the baby delighted in having so much attention.
We left the babe with my Dad and ducked out so I could buy a Rose for my class to share, and Rex got me to the train depot in plenty of time.
For the first time this summer, I made it to Grub without having to run halfway across Boston.
I chilled the Rose, and then the rest of the students arrived.
They're a really lovely group, and between them there were brownies, almond cookies, pretzels, hummus, and blueberry cake. One very industrious student took it upon himself to make ice shot glasses in the freezer and brought out a bottle of rum, but he was the only one brave enough to try it.
If I were to drink anything stronger than a glass of wine, there would be no way I'd make it home in one piece. I'd probably end up on the Fung Wah bus to NYC with a garbage bag full of balloon animals and a box of krispy kremes (not that I've ever done that...ever).
I got home on the 11pm train after a wonderful class, and fell into bed with the bairn.

Wednesday-
My late Tuesday nights always melt into eeeeeeaaaaaarly Wednesday mornings. The baby does not care what time I get home from class. He's up at 5:30, and so I am too.
Thank god for coffee.
It was humid and hot, so we went down to the beach at about 8:30am. The baby bypasses the playground and goes running straight for the water, and honestly, I can't blame him, so we splashed and frolicked for a bit, until I could feel the sun starting to scorch up my shoulders, about quarter after nine. It's a good thing too, because I checked my phone and saw a few texts about a coffee date with my darling InkWitch that I totally blanked on thanks to the no sleep. I wrapped the babe up, swaddled him into the stroller and raced for the coffee shop, still making it there in time for the date.
It was one of those necessary lovely things. We only had about an hour to visit, but InkWitch is so generous in spirit and in body, that I always feel really well cared for in her presence. She brought a rattlesnake toy for the babe, and tea and a talisman for me. I've been wearing the talisman for the rest of the week, and it reminds me how much I am loved by a very special witchy lady.
After the coffee date, I ran a few errands, then my third wind abandoned me, and by noon, we were back at the house. I curled up so the babe could get a post-lunch nap and wished with all my might that I could fall asleep too, but not for this Aries. As long as the sun is shining, my eyes are open.
The afternoon involved a lot of reading. Baz picked out book after book, and I read and read. It makes me so happy that he might love reading as much as I and his Dad do.

Thursday-
I woke up with a baking fever. I had a recipe kicking around in my head for Sauerkraut Sourdough, so I mixed up the dough at seven thirty while the coffee pot burbled and the baby finished his sweet potato pancakes. I fiddled with the kraut, but still, it added a bit more liquid than I wanted, and so, when I left for (yes, another coffee date), I was a bit nervous about the final rise.
This has been the week for seeing friends who've been so busy that our schedules never properly aligned. With the trip next week, I got worried I wouldn't get to visit with anybody, so I jammed everything in to this seven day block. It makes me sound way more social than I usually am. Most weeks, we don't see a soul, and I start talking to the walls to feel less crazy. That's how it works, right?
Another early hour at the beach, some running around, and then, an eleven thirty lunch/coffee date with Auntie Face. Auntie Face is really a term of endearment, because she is fiercely beautiful and serves serious face. I am in awe of her luminescence.
I drank two (TWO!!!) iced lattes, and Baz purloined her almonds and dried mango (he's lucky he's cute), then we walked down to another park and played around a fairy tree while talking about the world between worlds. I try to be grateful for the humans I have in my village around here. It's remarkable...how we all find each other exactly when we need to.
After such a busy date, the babe was tuckered out. We came home and he collapsed into his afternoon nap. Sometime I'm going to have to sleep train him, but for now, I relish the feeling of his little body completely at rest on my heart. It makes me feel stronger and more magical than I ever dreamed possible.
The nap ended abruptly, and I nervously bunged the sloppy kraut bread into the oven, then we read a few more books before dinner.
Shockingly the bread turned out marvelous!
Savory, tangy, sour, and salty without an overload of anything. It was really good! The baby ate a piece with his peas and chopped up hamburger, and I had a chunk with some cheese.
I typically eat my biggest meal around two in the afternoon, and then eat a snack and then another snack instead of dinner because the end of the day is super busy, but I guess I didn't eat enough yesterday because of the late night hangries.

Friday-
And here we are!
This morning, I confirmed our rental car reservation, bought some weekend groceries (fruit, cat food, whipped cream, and taco fixin's) but was strangely waylaid by a package of raisin bran muffins. I couldn't tell you why, but I had to have them.
We then scooted straight up the hilliest hill in my neighborhood to visit Auntie Treat, who spoiled us with homemade palmiers (teensy little three bite wonders), and fancy coffee. The babe was in heaven racing around with Auntie Treat's two doggos. We got our exercise too, trying to keep him from eating trinkets, pulling out wires, and knocking over glasses as well.
By then the babe was ready for his nap, so we spirited back home, where I inhaled a banana/peach/sweet potato/coconut yoghurt smoothie the size of my head.
Later I took the babe outside and let him play in the baby pool (another present from Inkwitch), and picked some tomatoes from the garden, before coming back in to split one of the muffins and some salty salty peanuts. Nom nom nom.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

An Admission of Guilt

Recovery is not linear.

I repeat this to myself as I realize that I am waiting for my scale to zero out so I can step on it before I get in the shower.

It's a habit I got into when I was pregnant, weighing myself every Tuesday, but I kept it up after the baby was born, and I realized the other day that I am no longer doing it on Tuesdays.
I am weighing myself every morning.

Then something else started happening.

I started seeing a number I wanted to keep.
A low number.

And without even thinking about it, all of them, all of the behaviors I've worked so hard to let go of in the last two years began creeping back into my days.

And so did all of their consequences.

Weird food rules.

Like not allowing myself to eat before 11am.

Even when my stomach is growling.

Not allowing myself this or that thing if I haven't had blank number of servings of vegetables first.

Not allowing myself to eat before I've gone for a morning walk.

Not allowing myself to eat if I haven't had 16oz of water first.

And fuck fuck fucking fuck, I let it tell me all of that.

I made excuses for it. Like it was a bad boyfriend.

I'm not really restricting, I'm eating plenty of food.
I'm not ignoring my body's needs, I always stop when I feel full.
I'm not keeping myself from eating certain foods, I eat anything I want.

Then the pendulum swung, and I binged.

I felt so hungry, and I ate right through my hunger cues into my fullness cues and then past those into my discomfort.

I ate enough to feel sick to my stomach and not to want to eat again for the rest of the day.

Then the shame began.

I lay awake wondering what I'd done wrong.
I woke up vowing today would be different,
and then I did it again.

You read that right.

I restricted all day, and then I binged at night.

And this time, I felt like I was in a car my Eating Disorder was driving drunk, and I knew it was dangerous, I knew I should pull over and get out, but I just had to see if it really was going to crash, and I really was going to die.

And the thing is, it didn't crash this time.
I didn't die.

But I will be asked to get back in this car every day, every morning, every hour for the rest of my life, and if I say yes every time, one day, I will crash, and I will die, and it will be because I let this thing convince me that a bunch of worthless rules, a bunch of stupid meaningless rules, are more important than my body, my life, and my son. I will pretend that they give me control over the uncontrollable, and then I will miss out on every other important thing happening in my life.

So I repeat to myself, recovery is not linear.

And I forgive myself for blundering back into the insidious, sticky swamp of my disordered behaviors. I hope I caught myself in time.
I know that there will be other moments that I fuck this up, but all I can do is take it one hour at a time, one day at a time, one meal at a time, and most importantly, tomorrow, I am going to eat breakfast when I get up and relax for the rest of the day.

And I am not getting on that fucking scale.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Short and Bittersweet

Sometimes I get completely swept up in how fast my baby is going to grow up.

These days it's so easy to become mired inside the amber of long summer afternoons and even longer sticky, cranky nights. I hold him on my lap and he twiddles wiht my boobs and tries to nurse standing on his head, and by god, it feels endless then. I feel like I'll never get my body back to myself. I feel overwhelmed by the needs of this little person, and I feel crushed by the responsibility of giving him what he needs from moment to moment.

But it's slipping away nonetheless.

He races away from me on the beach, a tiny shovel clutched in his fist, and my heart seizes in my chest with the awful certainty that he will repeat this desertion someday, but in a much grander sense.

That's the truly horrible truth about parenthood:
If you do your job properly, one day, your child will leave you, and they may never look back.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Keep Your Home Equity. I wanna Dance!

Sometimes I am paralyzed over one very specific task.

It's usually a money related thing.

A bill I need to pay in installments because I don't have the lump sum (medical shit),
A debt I am overwhelmed by and need to lower my monthly payments on (student loan shit),
An impending expense I have no desire to incur but must in order to continue as a functioning adult member of society and caretaker of a child (any type of repairs).

These things are literally heart freezingly stressful for me because deep deep down, I believe that the fact that I find them necessary and unhappy making is a symptom of the terrible life I am leading.

Honestly, if you wanted to go to the source of pretty much all of my anxiety other than fear of death or injury to my loved ones it's all rooted in this terrible certainty that I am doing my whole damn life wrong.

Do you ever feel like this?

Like, obviously a decent person would have met all her deadlines!
This decent person has a savings account for her son, a retirement fund that both she and her husband contribute to, and yet another account in which they are saving for the down payment on a house.
This decent person doesn't feel a hand squeeze her lungs when she sees that the mail has come.
She doesn't mind ordering checks or setting up her bills for automatic payments because she'll never overdraw her account.

This is the person I believe I should be, and I really really want to be her.

I want to be her, and I have to believe that I will be her at some point,
but I'm not her right  now, and because I'm not, I am constantly sizzling with fear.

It sucks too, because I hate money.
I hate its importance, the materialism, malcontent, and greed it inspires.
I hate that as soon as I got to my thirties everyone asked me when we were going to buy a house.

And I actually don't give a shit about owning a house.

You can't take it with you!
I want to scream.
Why bother tying yourself to a piece of property that will only rob you of any extraneous funds you put aside for the traveling you wanted to do in your old age?

And smart people, real grown ups, people nothing like me, have answers for all these questions.
Answers that begin with equity and end with 'DON'T YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR CHILDREN WITH ANYTHING?'

And yeah...I do...
but I would much rather leave them with memories than a bunch of stuff they have to figure out how to either get rid of, sell, or store after I die.

Why is it so difficult to convince people that I don't want THINGS?

I would much rather go out to a meal with six of my closest friends than get a necklace that cost as much as that dinner.

I would rather take a trip than invest in an upgraded vehicle.

I would rather splurge on the vacation, the boat ride, the road trip, and anything other experience that I can lie in bed and relive over and over again in my mind.

When I am dying, I won't be lying there fondly recalling all my stocks and bonds. I won't be happily going over how many clocks I collected or how, the day before my stroke, I finally got that diamond tennis bracelet I was coveting.

I will be lost in the memories of the meals laughed over until midnight, the embrace of my loved ones in an airport after a long journey, the sunrises over multicolored oceans, the breathless, weightless feeling of being in a foreign country and trying to memorize how everything feels and looks even though you know it's impossible.

So here I am, struggling, like everyone else, to equate my idea of a well lived life, with taking care of my family and staying secure, so there's food on the table between vacations, doctor's appointments and vaccines before summer adventures, and electricity pumping into my home, so that on a sick day, my kid and I can curl up and watch ET for the millionth time.

It's odd, but I feel better writing that all down.

My Dad once told me that his goal was to die owing a million dollars.
He's in his seventies now, and he laments that he'll probably not get there.

I laugh at him, but I silently agree.

Fuck it.
I wanna dance!