Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One of those days

“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”
—Louis de Bernieres (stolen with love from Kristin)

I've been feeling so incredibly emotional today. Like, unable-to-handle-it emotional.  I get this way sometimes, and it's always tough for me to get through. Suddenly, the world seems like a scary place where bad things take down good people every second, and as if "you never know how much time you have left" ends up turning into huge scary monsters lurking around the very next corner.

I am intensely emotional, even more sentimental, but usually I'm able to keep it under wraps, behind the huge walls I build up around myself.  I don't wear emotion well; in fact, I cower at its intensity a lot of the time, and would prefer to keep life strictly surface-like. This morning I woke up and knew instantly that those walls I build up to keep myself from torrents of uncontrollable emotion just aren't there, and whenever this happens, I tend to spend my day in a mess of The Crazy, unable to distinguish fear from reality.

It is this that has led me to what I was thinking about all morning: the fleeting, too-short nature of life, and the human tendency to take it all for granted. I wish I were better than the rest of you, that I'd figured out how to bypass this tendency, but in spite of myself, I have not, and sometimes that terrifies me. I'm just as guilty of taking it all for granted as every one of you. When my father died in 2003, I swore I would never take a single second for granted again. I'm sure that most of you who have lost someone close to you have thought similar things. But then life creeps in, that everyday life we experience day in, day out, and like it or not, we start taking life for granted again. And eventually, years and decades pass by, and have we appreciated it enough? Have we appreciated those in our lives enough? You never know if they'll be around tomorrow. Never.

I was reading an article earlier, an excerpt from Patrick Swayze's widow's upcoming book about her husband of more than three decades and his battle with cancer. It scared me so much to read what she had written; her love for him, and their relationship (not to mention all of the photos of the happy couple with their cats) hit way too close to home, and the sudden decline in Patrick's health hit me way too hard this morning.

What if that happens to Scott? What if it happens to me? I can't handle it. I couldn't. Like the above quote says, we are one tree, not two, and you can't just cut half of a tree's roots out and expect it to thrive. I know that we haven't been appreciating everyday life as much as we could be—not by a long shot—and though I know I'm probably being paranoid, I feel such an intense urge to stop playing around, to really appreciate every single moment, because it is true that you are never guaranteed more moments. Everything could change tomorrow. And though, when I am more well emotionally equipped to handle each thoughts, I realize that living in each moment doesn't mean spending each moment in the grip of fear, right now that fear of the unknown future feels enough to propel me, and hopefully Scott, into something better.

Life is a series of moments, and it is so easy not to appreciate those moments. I don't want to live life in fear of the future, or that it will arrive too soon; I want to make it so that when the inevitable future does arrive, we've lived and loved so thoroughly that no regret can take it away from us.


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