This happy-birthday-to-me snap of my end-of-20s, bringing Saturn home era, was exactly three months and three lifetimes ago. I was in LA with one of my favorite people, in-between then and now. I bought two sweaters and a winter hat, got a massage and ate a ton of great vegan food. As I stared at the Departures screen waiting for my flight to Berlin, I texted a friend, I said it doesn’t even matter what happens next, I’ve given up everything for everything.
It took me a lifetime to land, and it’s all kind of a blur now. I made notes as I went because if I don’t write things down I worry I might wake in the middle of the night and panic about what is real and what isn’t. I took all the notes from my phone from December and January and put them together. This is what I got:
Jetlag & jetlag & is this still jetlag? & I’m cold (not the oh-I’m-chilly kind but the-skin-underneath-my-fingernails-is-so-dry-it’s-tearing-open-&-I’ve-just-bled-on-the-counter-of-this-coffee-shop kind of cold) & feeling like a total brat for complaining about the cold I wholeheartedly signed up for & what is forever-after? Is it now? & 5-4-3-2-1… how do I do this again? & making lists & burning lists & remembering all the other burnt things & reading, always reading: So Sad Today & Urban Tantra & The Art of Asking. & answering HOW ARE YOU, again & again (Q. Do you mean how did it feel once my feet left the edge of the cliff or how did the risk-everything-for-love thing turn out? What kind of answer are you looking for? I have a many.) & the free-fall that is now my life & the desperate feeling of wanting to touch the earth again & equally the absolute fear of the landing. & do you miss Hawaii? (Q. Do I miss a small island in the middle of the ocean that was “home” for the last three years OR do I miss how I felt there/who I was there/the life I lived there? Like, do I miss my tan or my best self?) & German chocolate & cheese & all the bread & I love bread but can’t eat that much of it because I like being skinny & the shame that I care so much about that & I was vegan once-upon-a-time & the whole moral dilemma of having privilege & choices & being conscious & sensitive & really the whole being a human in a limited body in an unlimited universe thing & feeling SO hot (not the lets-turn-the-heating-down-a-degree kind or the sexy kind but the I’ve-woken-in-a-burning-sweatsoaked-tshirt-four-nights-in-a-row-now kind of I-am-unwell kind of hot). & always knowing the words and then never knowing the words & learning more ways to say I love you (Ich Liebe dich). & where is my other glove & now I’ve lost them both & I can’t find where we are on GoogleMaps & how did I get here & how am I going to do this? & this is thirty & that is actually us in the reflection of that window, not two imaginary people. (Remember those people from that hostel room? *Knocks on glass* & it doesn’t shatter.) & caffeine fueled anxiety & winter fueled depression & anxiety over anxiety & (Q. I’ve been losing my hair for a while now & how concerned should I be about this?) & an endless quest for remedies/relief/ways to go on, including but not limited to; lavender oil & knitted socks & beeswax candles & sage & peppermint tea & a hot water bottle (Q. can I put boiling water straight from the kettle into my hot water bottle? Will I destroy something and/or myself?) & the usual: fate vs. destiny vs. freewill vs. karma vs. the infinite nothingness. & continuous mild panics over lack of productivity/creativity/money & the guilt that comes with having so much but still having an insatiable amount of desire for so much more. (Q. How to live a meaningful life as an awakened being without feeling guilty or greedy while watching the world go to shit?) & gentle reminders of small mercies & gratitude & the expansion of every past version of self & the shedding of old skin & dry skin & coconut oil for all of it. & questions & an argument about what defines a “balanced life” on an airplane. & rising above the cloud line (always) & the same three yoga poses every day (Q. how do I make my new recycled yoga mat stop smelling like rubber?) & learning to stop saying things like “soon” and “later” & finding a way to say “now” like a prayer & a call to attention & an awakening. & the every-day-ness of a love story.
In the past I made it look too easy. I’ve never actually landed on my feet before. My secret is that I show up in a kind of manic state disguised as blind optimism and then try really really hard, and then things happen. I also believe in many invisible forces and this usually helps. Someone once said to me, you live a very full life, you do more in a month than most people do in a year. I don’t think comparisons like this are ever helpful, but maybe this is why I’m so tired today.
All winter I’ve been trying to be that flower in the desert, you know, that kind of wildflower that grows even in the harshest climate conditions, against all odds she appears so beautifully, as if overnight, as if it took no effort to bloom in unfertile soil. But I’m not that kind of dandelion. I need a lot of care, direct sunlight, etc. I was born a summer baby. I’m pale and coughing and sun deprived. I’m eating tons of bread and using coffee as a drug to boost my mood. I’m holding in one hand the mourning of a life I loved and chose to leave. If I add up all the people and places I’ve ever missed in my life, this is almost how much I miss the sun every day I don’t see her. I didn’t understand homesickness until now. I never knew a place could feel like something lost. They keep saying Spring is coming. I want to believe that it will be soon, but I don’t want to get my hopes up because I’ve seen what misguided hope can do to me. I trust nature though. I’m trying to be patient. I know it’s always summer somewhere.
In my other hand I hold all the pieces of this new lifetime. It’s turning out to be one of those incredibly beautiful puzzles where none of the pieces are the same and depending on the light, all the colors seem to look different. I walk across cobblestones, a quant scene from a European travel guide. I say things like Einen Kaffee bitte and take photos of frozen tree branches and old old churches and go to class to learn to say more things and then hide and line up words that don’t make sense. At three o’clock I turn into a nanny and the twins and I sing She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain even though I don’t know the words and they’re too small to know any words. I say things like tak tak & ish ish ish & try to get them to eat something other than blueberries. The thing I admire most about being around new life is how pure the love is. When I am with them I am nowhere else. I read something once about how babies are much closer to the source. I feel that. After work I go home and we make incredible Indian or Mexican food or anything spicy and then we stay up talking and write all kinds of lists about all kinds of things. We laugh when we remind ourselves we’re still kind of strangers, like we were all those years ago. We are actually making this thing work. What-are-the-chances and who-would’ve-thought and look at us now.
I have to spread my arms out wide to separate, where I was, and where I am. To mourn and fall in love again, all at once. A classic case of Yin and Yang. On the weekend we built a nest out of pillows and blankets in the living room, just below the windows. We looked out at the sky from our nest. I often think about all the windows I’ve stared from, the hours and hours of window gazing. It’s an underrated art. I think about what a collage of all of these windows of my life would look like. I imagine my life written entirely in captions under each one. The caption for this lifetime would be “And…” I keep learning in everything there is always more.