When someone you love dies young or unexpectedly, the "should"s start to creep into your life with FORCE. The past few months I've spent a lot of time pondering what I should be doing versus what I am actually doing. I don't necessarily worry about whether I'm wasting time... It's more of a vague awareness that time is constantly ticking and that it is not guaranteed so I have this voice in the back of my head reminding me that maybe I'll get hit by a bus and killed when I walk out of my hotel later today. And if that happens, did I really spend my time well laying in bed and staring at the wall for three hours this afternoon?
This voice chimes in at the most inconvenient moments and it's remarkably inconsistent. If I'm resting, it reminds me that perhaps being active and exploring would be a better use of my time. If I'm busy, it reminds me that rest is key to creativity and happiness and that maybe I should be taking it easy. It carries with it this strange, looming guilt that no matter what I do, it is not going to be enough.
For the first few months after my dad's diagnosis, I had a hard time quieting this voice. It was with me at every turn and it required all of my patience to ignore it. But, over the past two years, it's gotten quieter. There's no way for me to live every sort of life I've dreamt of in my time here on earth. I am not religious so I'm unclear what happens when I'm finished here but maybe I'll have a chance somewhere else to be a different sort of person. For now, instead of fighting with the voice, I have chosen to sit with it and to grant it some level of balance.
Today, I choose to ignore my work communication, lay in my hotel bed in Chicago, and stare at the wall. It's my white space. It's my time to find my center and my clarity. It's time that I can feel present in my body and time to study the way the air travels through my chest with each breath I take. It's time to imagine each of my cells doing their part and time to send them gratitude for holding the ship steady. Today, I'm choosing nothing; it's not a waste of time. There is nothing else that I "should" be doing right now and to embrace that is an absolute dream.