Archive | June, 2014

This is what dying sounds like

15 Jun

A companion to “Pain Demands to Be Felt: An Homage to My Grandmother.” 

The rattle of the oxygen machine, white noise in the background humming day and night. The click of the medicine bottle cap opening, the rattle of a half-dozen pills as they clatter together in your shaking hands. Gentle slurping through a straw, because it hurts to eat solid food.

This is what dying sounds like.

The creak of the hospital bed as you adjust it’s height, the sharp intake of breath as you change positions. The tapping of the walker’s feet along the kitchen floor, the dull thud when you move across the carpet. The shrill ringing of the phone every few hours with friends and well-wishers.

This is what dying sounds like.

 The slam of a car door as the nurse pulls up, the roar of the ignition as she leaves. Repeated the next day with a different car, a different model, and the next with yet another. The soft and steady cadence of a best friend’s voice as she prays for your relief.

 This is what dying sounds like.

The harsh sobs when the pain finally becomes too much, when the dam is released and a hiccupping flood is started. When the quiet agony is finally given a voice, when your internal pleading for respite is cried out. The silent tears rolling down my face as you hold me and I hold you.

This is what dying sounds like.

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I’m going to quote Nike here

12 Jun

Usually, I like to reserve my blog space to tell stories about the interesting characters I run into, experiences I’ve had, or my travels. However, this post has been percolating in my brain for a while and I decided to just do it.

Because you see, that’s the theme of my post. JUST DO IT. I’m so frustrated with people just sitting on their asses, complaining about their lives, yet refusing to take the necessary steps to change (myself included).

Let me clarify “people” as recent post-grads who are wallowing in their Millennial Malaise (yes, that’s a new thing, I think it will be in the DSM-V). I’m not up on some high horse here though, because I am certainly guilty of it myself. I’m just tired of it.

“Oh, I’m just taking some time to figure out what I want to do right now,” has been a standard response to people asking me what I’ve been up to post-college. My peers, some of whom are working some dead end job here or there, often answer with the same statement. We are all just trying to “figure out our lives.”

But what I’ve decided over the last few months is that it really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are doing something. It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you are going somewhere. Is this concept anything new? Of course not!

We spoiled, middle-class, liberal arts degree holders are sometimes incapable of making decisions. We are scared that what we choose won’t be glamorous enough, won’t change the world enough, won’t fulfill our need to realize our dreams, pursue our passions, or any of those other sexy buzzwords they put on college admissions materials. Every potential job has cosmic significance instead of maybe just being how we fund what actually gives meaning to our lives.

Guess what guys? It’s called work for a reason. Because it’s work. It’s not supposed to be a daily party or an endless summer. Maybe some days you will be on top of the world and feel like you’re living your true calling, but other days, you’re going to just get through whatever needs to be done so you can make it to your improv class or to practice guitar.

The important thing, I think, is to make a decision. Maybe it’s to decide “I’m going to be a nanny so I can save money to go travel the world,” or it’s to decide “I’ll wait tables to make money while I work on my movie script,” but just make a decision and live it out. I don’t think decisions have a value assigned—there are no good or bad decisions, so with that mentality you can never fail. You can only learn.

I can be decisive to a fault. “Skip my last semester of college to be a tour guide in Cuba? Sure, why not?…Audition to be a professional ballerina? Go for it. Pack up my Honda Accord with everything I own and move back to Charleston, with no job or anywhere to live? Bring it on…”

Sometimes my decisions may be seen as impatient, rushed, ill-informed, or just crazy, but they are MINE and they were DECISIONS. Instead of stagnating or dithering around somewhere I didn’t want to be, I knew what I wanted and went for it. “Going for it” is scary. It forces you, and the people around you, outside of their comfort zones.

Yes my Millennial Malaise sufferers—it’s scary to leave behind the comfortable shell of complaining that you’ve built for yourself. It might be scary for your friends, who are in the same boat, to see you leave and see you succeed. It might be scary for your parents, who might not want to see you leave the security of a steady income to pursue a different path. But for the love of God, can y’all please just do something? Stop complaining, stop waiting for life to come to you.

Because it’s already here.