Livin’ Life

I think I’ve told you guys about the period of time I was a door canvasser for a political action group. I spent five hours a day knocking on doors, followed by a couple of hours of bars and drinking. Crash somewhere, maybe home. Repeat. It was a lot of fun for awhile.

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Playing drums in a rooftop jam session. The guy bending over, Andy, ODed a few years later. Livin’ life.

During this time, every day with hippies and slackers, when people asked how we were we would say noncommittally, “Oh, ya know. Livin’ life.” Which meant we weren’t doing shit.

But in a sense, it was the truth. We were enjoying life, living. To the expense of everything else, though, which is not really a way to live.

Today, I have very dear friends whose teenage daughter is surviving with a cancerous tumor around her brain stem. She and her family have fought hard through several surgeries, rounds of chemo and radiation, and has been in partial remission for over a year. They are overjoyed and have been living life (rather then livin’ it) “to the fullest.”

“Live life to the fullest.” That’s a nice platitude, isn’t it? If only it really meant something to me. Someone should put that in pretty letters on driftwood. Oh, they have? Hmm.

Sadly, however, this does not make her immune from the aftereffects of the radiation, (which I didn’t even know was a thing and seems so fucking unfair.) Last week, they learned these effects included another (noncancerous) tumor in her hippocampus that will continue to progress. She is already showing a decline in her balance and memory. I’ve been trying to make sense of it, as I imagine all people do when faced with mortality.

Her mother wrote in a Facebook post that the cancer has “taught (them) not about death but life. So much of our life is focused on a destination. God has made it clear to us it’s about the journey. What you do with the days your given.”

This is another way of saying “live your life to the fullest,” but it makes so much more sense to me, rather than being a mere platitude. “So much of our life is focused on a destination.” I’ve been asking myself, what if this is it? This is all? This is the point?

The bubbles I blew with Wee One the other day that she ran after. What if that’s the point?

The smell of fire smoke. What if that’s the point?

Walking across a field. What if that’s the point?

Maybe “the point” is all around me all the time and my eyes are closed. Thinking of this helps me to open them. Do you have existential panic? What helps you?

 

 

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