Be in love with your life. Every detail of it. – Jack Kerouac
I saw this quote over the summer and knew instantly that I wanted to write about it. This is so much of what I think about, write about, feel these days. It’s taken me a very long time to fall in love with my life. A very long time. But I have, and I am.
But that life is full of challenges, both big and small. It is full of disappointments and heartbreak, fury and fighting, mess and ugliness. Every day contains some of these things. For some reason – I suspect it’s my settling into this season, the square middle of my life, the beginning of the afternoon – I grow ever more accepting of the tarnish that is an inevitable part of each day’s sterling silver gleam. These days, I far less often allow these troubles the power to occlude the brightness of the rest of my life.
You can’t have one without the other, after all. Maybe that’s what midlife is, realizing this. Every detail is required to paint the picture. Another thing I believe is that you can dislike small things – about your life, about your relationships, most crucially, about your self – while acknowledging their essential role in the whole. I don’t know if that’s exactly what Kerouac meant, but that’s how I choose to read his words (believing as I do that actually loving every single detail in its own right may be challenging!).
And so, yes, I am in love with my life. With all of it. I embrace the shadowy valleys that are as integral to the topography of my life as are the peaks and the wide, sun-drenched plains. After all, we are only here for a brief, shimmering second; the least we can do is throw our arms around – and ourselves into – the whole of our lives, as they are, right here, right now. As my friend Stacy Morrison so gorgeously put it, recently, “I see now how much I want to live my life in a way that honors it, by paying attention.” I want to honor it all: light and dark, joy and pain, beauty and ugliness. All of it.
(Speaking of silver, those spoons are Grace and Whit’s, a gift on Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago. I bought them here.)
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