Friday, September 13, 2013

So long as you live, keep on living.

With all this time on my hands, I do think about life, it's purpose, love, and everything in between. I even find myself thinking about transplant options again. I admit, I cannot accept death. It's sad, I know. I am not in turmoil about it (all the time that is). I choose to live my days as fully as can be. Some days that means all I've accomplished are washing the dishes and watching another documentary on Netflix. Yes, that's it. With the clock ticking, that's what I'm doing. During the first few months I felt the clock so loudly that I pressured myself into 'making a mark'. I knitted a whole bunch of sweaters and booties. I refused to let my existence on this planet go unmarked, unnoticed. If I choose cremation (against my religion, but not my pocket book), I won't even have a headstone to mark my existence.
I had awareness when I was watching loads of "foreign" documentaries about people outside of capitalistic self-involved north america. Most people are born, die with no mark of their existence. This became very apparent as I reignited my genealogy search and realized that if you weren't part of a religion, your birth was not recorded. You didn't exist. Even in my desire to want to be recognized for existing and contributing to society, in 50 years it won't matter. My cohort will be dead, as will I. It's only a matter or time.
This used to get me down.
It is starting to become liberating. I wish I was completely detached from ego so that I can say I'm no longer saddened by the idea of disappearing once I die. I'm not fully there yet, however I am recognizing just how insignificant life is.
I think the reason it's still not completely liberating is all the pain my leaving the planet will cause to my loved ones. For good reason, if my wife were to die tomorrow, I would be lost. For more than the obvious reasons that she is currently my care-taker. She is my soul-mate that has really shown me what she's made of. I've been partnered to some caring, loving individuals. One of whom I got to visit with last week. No one but no one else has been able to be as stupendously loyal as ma belle. I am forever indebted to her and strive each day to leave her with something greater than if I was ripped from this planet without warning. I beautify our home, create things for her, feed her nourishing meals, make her favourite bread, laugh as much as we can in this situation and let her know just how strong she is. I don't list what I do for credit. I list what I do to illustrate that it's not what you "buy" someone that counts, it's what you DO for someone.
So here are some preliminary palliative reflections that I'm sure dear readers have been waiting for. Life isn't about what you own, what brand of car you drive, where you work, etc. It's about the people in it. If you have your health, you're golden. If you have your health and love, you are rich. You have almost everything you'll ever need. Yes, I hear you when you say we need money. We do need to pay our bills and eat. However, the reason you have most of those bills is absolutely superfluous. There is so much waste in north America (and other "developed" countries). There is absolutely NO reason that your dog needs a rhinestone collar or a pink coat, there's no reason you need to pay someone to paint your toenails. In fact, about 80% of the things we buy, we don't need. I've been at home for 8 months now (minus the maybe dozen or so outings during the entire time). In those 8 months I've saved so much more money than I ever could when I was living amongst you. Sure I save on car insurance, parking at work, work clothes etc. but I never spent much on clothes to begin with. I've been pretty frugal most of my life that it was an actual dilemma the first time I bought a Coach purse. It felt indulgently silly but I was responding to the part of the "brain" that's influenced by media and pop culture. I tell ya, now that I don't watch the news and am (not) aware about some singer do something called a "twerk" (?) I don't have those brain-cravings to "fit-it". If I can be accepting of myself, that's all I need. When you have low-self-esteem you fall into the trap of believing advertising that tells you you'll be happy if you buy their product. We mistaken want for need.
What I say isn't new. There are lovely FB meme's going around every so often, posted by my more aware friends, but when you're IN the rat race, it's hard to really comprehend the difference between want and need.
My needs for actual things have dropped so much in the past 8 months that I actually had a fight with my spouse who wanted to get me a new phone battery when it proved that it didn't hold a charge longer than an hour. My response to her was that a dying person doesn't need new things and it wasn't out of not feeling like I "deserve" it but that I really didn't NEED a new battery (especially since I don't go anywhere anyway). (As a therapist I also have a problem with the word deserve - don't get me started!)
My desires from people have shifted from things to time. I sincerely value the time my family, friends and acquaintances have spent with me. I gratefully value the visits from people across the world. It means more than a "thing" that I can't take off this planet anyway. Time is priceless. Well, OK, I agree, a flight is expensive, but that in itself is a gift that no one can take away and it's a gift for the both of you.
Love is what's needed in this world.
It is true, the problem with our "developed" society is that we've begun to love things instead of people. You never know when it's your time. You don't - you may think you do, but you don't. I thought I did, but I don't know. I do know, as science does, that my lungs are 'going'. I do know that I probably won't be able to go out AT ALL this winter, if I survive. I do know that I surprise people. They don't say it directly, but they can't keep it from showing up on their face: I look good. That isn't from a place of ego, but a place of knowing - that you can live to die or live to live. So long as I am breathing, I am not going to be defeated. Nor will I walk around like I am. Granted there are days I have zero energy and the most I can do is feed myself and watch another documentary (if I don't snooze half way through it) but why stop smiling? Why stop dancing? Why stop singing? Why stop living?
"As long as you live keep learning how to live" Lucius Seneca.