And so I've lived for 27 years. Yesterday I began my 28th, and it kind of blows my mind to hear that.
Because I've gotten to be alive for 27 years. I have my health and I am well. How lucky I am, truly.
These past few weeks have been tumultuous ones. Mostly inside of my heart, but on the outside too. Two weeks ago, a man I know in this city passed away very unexpectedly. At too young an age. It's always hard to stop thinking about tragedies like this, when they hit so close to home and it suddenly becomes very apparent that life is fragile and delicate and fleeting. Life is short, and we have no idea how short that may be.
In these weeks leading up to my birthday, I haven't been able to stop thinking about this, about how we're only in these bodies for a very limited period of time and we're only going to interact with these other bodies for a very limited period of time and what is the point of that, anyway? Why are we in these bodies? (Existential much? I know.)
And then I look down at my arm, at the words tattooed on it: just love. And it's not as simple as that but maybe it is. For me, I think it is. The more days that pass and the more inhales that pass through my lungs, the more I understand that I am here to learn to love. To love myself, to love others, to explore and figure out all the other hundreds of things I must love, too.
Sometimes this feels unbearably hard. And sometimes I remember that there's a friend dead from too much heroin and a woman dead from choosing to take her own life before brain cancer did instead and thousands dead in Guinea from ebola and on and on and on.
And then I realize that it's all just about living while we can. And doing the best we can, even when it feels unbearable. And loving and connecting with human beings and hugging dogs and listening to our guts and standing beside trees and eating really good cheese.
I've gotten 27 years to do all this learning, and feel all this in my heart. And my gratitude is evident from the tears in my eyes as I write this having woken up on my 27th birthday.
I can't wait for more.