I realized it at this strange moment. I was on my favorite unpaved road in St. George. The sun was half past rising. The red mountains were fiery and powerful. The blue mountain was a quiet and deep hue. The small sandy in-between mountains forgot their average colors for a half hour and glowed with the new rays of the sun. It was now when the sun rose and later when the sun was on its way down that the world was full of my favorite purples, blues, reds, and oranges. There was a chill to the air that lacked the kind of threat that the chill in New York had. The cold was here only to awaken the rest of my senses. It was only there to say good morning.
This is everything that I am.
I guess the realization kind of started earlier one night when my concerned mother came into my room. She moved cautiously so I knew she was about to lay a Buddha teaching upon me.
“Jade. Buddha says there are two things.”
“Does he mom?” I wasn’t in the mood.
“There are two things,” she continued, ignoring my defensive tone of voice, “There is aloneness. That is where you are alone and it is the perfect and best state of being. Aloneness…And then there is loneliness. Jade. Loneliness is a disease. It is the worst state of being.”
“I’m telling you this because you have the latter. Jade. You have been doing things, exercising, writing—all of your normal things. But for a while now, you’ve been… not depressed. Not sad exactly…” I watched her eyes search the air for the right English word. “Heavy. Yes, that’s it. You seem heavy. There is heaviness all around you.”
It shocked me that, despite my mother’s never ending battle with the English language, she could still find the word to describe exactly how I was feeling. I had felt heavy. Everything from my mind, to my heart, to my body…It just felt heavy.
“The disease will only exist if you let it,” My mother said, “Now, Jade. You can run all you want. You can exercise all you want. You can go through all of the motions, but unless you REALLY want to get rid of the disease, it will not go away.” She pointed right at me with her tiny finger. Then she placed both hands on my ears, kissed my forehead, and told me to get some sleep. And I wished I could, because I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks.
I laid in bed, wide awake. My mother was right. I wasn’t alone; I was lonely. I rolled onto stomach and flipped on the lamp. I would read the hours away until it was time for the sun to rise again. After all, it had been too long since J.D. Salinger and I had spent the night alone together.
Another morning I got up and took my morning walk with my dog. We explored yet another field of grass. When I got home, I went on a run. I don’t know how far I run anymore. I don’t keep track of distance or time, I only let myself come home when I feel like my brain finally lets go and turns off. Sometimes that takes a while.
On another day, after running, I stretched and showered. I made breakfast tea, measuring out the perfect amount of honey and milk to add to my cup. I sat in front of my computer and tackled my website. I wanted it to be reader friendly. Of course looking nice and having cool stuff on it is swell, but I want the words to be the easiest thing to access from my blog. Obviously. That’s its main purpose. I archived many of my posts. It was interesting. Everything before I drove away from my apartment in the Bay Area is gone. My life only exists afterwards. Everything, with the exception of a few posts, is very much coming from a broken hearted girl. Nonetheless, I reread a lot of my posts. I read about broken hearts, and I read about falling in love. I liked the parts where I fell in love. Wasn’t October such a lovely month?
After that, I wrote for three hours. I’ll tell you, it’s impossible to keep track of time when I start writing. It moves so fast. The clock ticks so fast when I type away at the keyboard.
Another day, I walked outside into the backyard. The sun was streaming down on the earth as if the earth was its first love and it had just now met the planet for the first time. I was alone, so I pulled off my shirt. I had felt sick lately and needed some Vitamin D. One thing led to another, and suddenly I had no clothes on and had decided to bake a carrot cake. It made no sense. It’s actually not sexy. But when you’re fighting hard to turn loneliness into aloneness, you have to think outside the box.
For the record, I can now confidently make very well, the following things:
- Carrot cake
- Corn bread
- A spinach and tomato omelette
- Eggs over medium
- Steamed veggies
- Breakfast Tea
- Toast (Only if I’m not reading an interesting book or watching an interesting film - also when under pressure there is a slight chance of possible imperfections.)
I met a stranger at the park one afternoon. He told me about his two marriages. The first wife left him for a richer man. He said he could only take his wife to the local ski resort about an hour and a half away from where they used to live. The “Other man,” took his ex-wife to Switzerland to go skiing. But, he added, (I imagine he saw my eyes begin to tear up) he had met another wonderful woman who he has been married to for 35 years. And, they have three dogs and play ping pong together.
And then all of those days strung together to get me to where I was today...when I realized that this is everything that I am.
I walked the unpaved road with Gemmy at my heels. (Literally. She’s an Australian Shepherd so she herds.) And I saw patterns. I have no reason at all to wake up early, and yet I keep meeting up with the sun out in the open fresh morning air as if I had missed it the entire night it was gone. I enjoy the morning things: making tea or coffee, attempting to make breakfast, eating burnt toast in my underwear with bed hair and my eyes still a little sleepy. I love that. I go on walks and think and look and enjoy my surroundings—no place beats Utah for a morning or evening stroll. I run, run, run. I go to the gym and zone out for an hour or two. I read until I fall asleep. I write until I realize the hours have flown by. And then I throw in some weird outlier like baking naked.
That’s me on repeat. That’s me whether I’m lonely (diseased) or alone (the complete and blissful state of being). That’s me whether I’m in a relationship or not. That’s me whether I’m in New York, Utah, or Los Angeles. Whether I’m eight years old or twenty-two…
This is everything that I am.
And that’s when I realized that I don’t really believe in the whole, “Live each day as if it were your last,” thing. First of all, it’s completely unrealistic. How we would actually live our last day would not be how anyone should live their entire lives. Well, that’s my opinion at least. (Obviously it’s my opinion, it’s my blog dammit.) But really, I don’t like putting so much weight on the idea of our “Last day.” And it’s not because I don’t like the idea of death. No. Not at all. In fact, I think it's because I like the idea of life.
It’s because I think there’s something special about the ordinary days—even the bad days. Ordinary days—the bland, monotonous, just getting through another day days—and what we do with them are simply opportunities to help us find out who we are and what we’re worth. It’s one thing to see the sun shining, go on a spontaneous walk through the park, and stop and smell the roses and have a wonderful “Life is good” day, but it’s another to plant a garden and tend to it and love it and get your hands dirty with it every single day, rain or shine.
In bro language this is translated as: You are what your weekdays are (the dreadful Mondays, the productive Tuesdays, and the hump-day Wednesdays) not what your Saturday nights are.
And realizing this was important for me today because when I walked out to the fields today, I felt heavy. I felt stuck. But I realized these were my ordinary days. These were my golden days, just like all of them were and will be…And I felt a little lighter.
This is everything that I am.
And I am the luckiest.