Warning: Today is a very un-“word-less wednesday!”

There is one question I get asked multiple times a week, which I have struggled to answer accurately. It happened again at a family gathering earlier in the week when I had brought along a small gift of orange marmalade I had preserved this winter as a thank you.

The question.

“How does she have time to do all of this stuff?”

Thankfully, it was not directed at me this time, because, without having to come back with an answer (“I take ritalin! Hahaha!” or “I never sleep!” or “If you love it, you make time!” or {shrug}), I was instead able to let the words hanging in the air take me down the road of reflection.

The truth is.


How do I put this?

The truth is it is all a need. The truth is that I cannot imagine not filling my days up as I do. The truth is that these things are things I attempt and grasp at and squeeze-in because, well, because they make me feel good and why not?

The truth reached a crescendo last night. It came to me as a lump in my throat that had been building for a while, yet seemed to take me by surprise out of nowhere, nonetheless. I was at the Olympia Ballroom, and Jim Lynch, one of my favorite authors, had just finished introducing us to his new novel,Truth Like the Sun
. I was waiting in line to have my book signed, excited to chat with him for a moment, as we hadn’t run into one another for about a year or so. I passed the time by reading the first couple of chapters. These words stuck with me, right in the throat, threatening tears:

“Know something, though,” Teddy says on the inhale. “Been meaning to tell you this: enough is never enough with you. And it’s not healthy. It’s like an addiction.”

“To what?”

“To more.” Smoke flares out of his nostrils. “You can’t get enough of anything.”

Roger rubs his cheeks and averts his eyes, wondering if it’s that obvious he’s increasingly driven half-mad by the limitations of having only one life. All the things he’ll never see or do or understand. All the people he’ll never know.

That is how I feel. That’s how I feel about life in general. That someone could state this feeling with words so accurately, in such a heartbreaking way, really touched on the bittersweet nature of what it’s like to walk around with this arms-wide-open attitude toward life. I am smiling and embracing all I can, yet simultaneously so terrified by its brief duration.

It’s too dang short.

I’m not even doing half of all the things I wish I were doing, though it’s not for lack of trying. It’s for lack of about 1000 years of hang-time here on earth.

I don’t really know if this is a good or bad thing. It just is how I live my life.

I grew up with my dad in and out of the hospital with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, on the brink of death one day and back the next. It was impressed upon me always that life is short – to take, or make, time for the things you enjoy, for the things you want to try, for the people who boost you up and make you laugh. For him it was stained glass and sailing; for me, racing stock cars and the pursuit of the perfect chocolate chip cookie, among many other things.

One of my older brothers used to tell me, when I would ask for advice, “Do it! You might get hit by a bus tomorrow.”  (This made for a lot of awkward –  yet bold – confessions of love to various young men in my life while I was in high school!)

People have hobbies: gardening, painting, sewing, photography…the list could go on for miles. And I do share in many of these pursuits and find great joy in them.

But my compulsion is simply (and much more complexly) life. To live. To seek joy. To feel fulfilled.

Fulfillment means so many different things to so many different people.

To me, I guess, it’s in a jar of marmalade.

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