At point in our lives do we start quoting Jack Kerouarc?
I think that I want to move to Paris or Dublin or Berlin. Pack up my books and give away the rest and get a small apartment above a cobblestone street with a little cafe underneath and a tiny market on the corner where I could buy bread and fruit and sit with my notebooks and write. And sometimes walk along the river or through a museum and watch people and smile at babies and find a park bench and write some more. When you ask me what I want, this is what I think. Not success or fame or fortune. But then, I think that I could do that. I could do that tomorrow. I was listening to a musician on NPR yesterday saying she did exactly that by just searching for “paris”, “apartment”, and “piano”. There it was. And there she went.
But what if I did that? I would be lonely and poor and I would walk by myself and when I was ready to take a break from my writing, I would turn to talk about my day and no one would be there to talk to. And anyway, I would miss my cats. And when sitting alone in that apartment, light-filled and full of comfortable writing chairs, I would want a family with babies of my own and someone to watch them laugh with me.
Sometimes life is too much and I think, surely I’ve had enough loss for now. Surely, I’m due for a break. And then I think maybe that’s what life is. A series of losses and gains. No more or less than that. We feel joy: we think, I have never been happier than at this moment. And then we feel as though joy is a voice we heard whispered once, but we don’t remember what the words were. And we wonder, what then, is life for?
But I’m feeling fatalistic these days. And that too, will pass. I’m realizing that accepting loss doesn’t mean forgetting or replacing what we’ve lost, it just means we go on living. Sometimes we feel our phantom limbs. And sometimes we find new joy, different joy and we remember that life is for that.