If Not Now, When?


The weight of impermanence. When you say it, it's like it wants to be light like, Hey, Nothing Lasts Forever. And then you remember that yeah, it's not just that shitty mood or that gallon of ice cream that doesn't last forever but also joy and grief and time on this planet. That is the paradox. The only things permanent are the most subjective: relationships and experiences, because even when they've passed or ended, they stay with you. They live inside smells and music and photos and laughter, thank you Impermanence for laughter. 

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

We can cheat impermanence by paying attention and then paying more attention. Lately, I've had to go inside and regroup, take some time to refluff my nest. And with my nest organized and comfortable, I've slowly been able to return my attention outward. A gratitude journaling meetup and workshop with Tammi Salas a couple of Sundays ago was just the reset I needed.

Cultivating relationships and experiences, making connections don't exactly cheat impermanence, it's still there, but they do establish relevance.

I was here.
And so are you.
We did this thing.

I've written about impermanence before and I'm no Buddhist, but it seems like the older I get, the more the lessons keep showing themselves. Now I contemplate the future, and not in a future-trippy way, I don't do that to myself anymore, but I do like to write out what I want my life to look like.

And funny, that looks a lot like it actually looks right now.






Hi, my name is Sondra and I'm a...

Multi-passionate. That's a word I use now. Perhaps this is the word I should have always used to describe myself but if I were to be honest, for years I was only passionate about one thing and that was my next drink.  The line that separated 'is this fun' from 'is this really not fun at all' had become blurred a long time ago. Am I doing this to decompress and relax or am I addicted? Does everyone drink like me or do they actually not? These were seemingly benign questions I would ponder when maybe there was still a chance of taking it back from the direction it came but that certainly wasn't the last several years. They were the years of everyday was a reason to drink and one was never enough. It was no longer a question of fun but of necessity. I found a journal entry from over a year ago where I described myself as a reckless fate-tempter, luck-pusher indestructible. And that was it, fun nowhere in sight. 

The voice that talks to you on the day you surrender sounds a lot like your own voice, only way more desperate and miserable. If your's sounded like mine, it probably said something like, "This is going to be your life, everyday, for the rest of your life". In an interview, Sarah Hepola (Blackout) said that she wasn't necessarily afraid of dying, she was afraid of never changing. And even though I was slowly killing myself, that was deeply denied. What was apparent, though, was that I would never change. Those things I loved that filled the hole to make me whole, things besides alcohol, would never get the attention and the nurturing they deserved because alcohol had turned my brain into a flophouse. 

On that day last Summer, I titled my life going forward as My Mid-Life Solution. And while there was no drink I hadn't drunk, no party I had not attended, no random guy I had not made out with (okay, that behavior actually hadn't presented itself in a while), I wasn't quite sure where that left me, but I knew I wasn't going to drink that day. And I didn't and did the same thing the next. Once the alcohol obsessed train leaves the station, it frees up some time. I listened to some podcasts, I took some long walks, I read some books, I read some poetry. I read The Summer Day by Mary Oliver, who told me, "I don't know exactly what prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" 

It doesn't have to be big. In fact, the simpler, the better. But let's plan to do something with our one wild and precious life.