I just finished watching The Bear on Hulu. While I haven’t counted, I’m probably a season or two behind on at least 15-20 other shows. My wishlist on the library app is 150 books deep. My bucket list has 64 items and only six are crossed off.
When I get an idea for an essay or a blog, I write it down in a moleskin notebook I carry around in my purse. Sometimes I write paragraphs, sometimes I write miscellaneous words, knowing that I’ll understand what I mean later.
When I wake up in the morning, I have a thousand things running around in my head. What I want to do, what I should do, what I could do, what I’ve been needing to do for too long. Little sparks of inspiration and courage flash through my mind, telling me, maybe this is the day we try this or maybe we’re brave enough to start taking steps toward that. And waves of anxiety interrupt those thoughts, saying I don’t think we can do this and we’ll never be good enough for that.
I know my hopes, I know my dreams. I know where I want to be in five years. I know where I want to be in forty. Or at least I think I do. I know what I want based on all the things I know right know.
Some of what I think, I write about. Some of what I think, I share with friends, family or even acquaintances and strangers. But a lot of what I think, a lot of what I know, a lot of what I imagine, is just mine. It lives in my head and it stays there.
A big part of my world is just my mind. It’s the colors it knows, the sounds and the smells. It’s the feelings it feels—sometimes different than the people around me. It’s the way I want to be seen and the way I’m afraid I might be seen. It’s all the things I’ve collected, all the things I’ve explored, and all the things I’m waiting to discover. Everything is a layer, a piece, a portion, a reason, a quirk, a characteristic of me. And no one else has all the same parts.
No one else knows what I’m thinking about when I’m staring off into space. No one knows the exact shade of blue I see when I look up at the sky. No one knows what the sun feels like when it hits my skin. No one knows all the stories I want to write. No one knows all the doors and corners and gardens and gravestones that live inside me.
Last week, there was a terrible car accident in Southern California. A drunk driver sped down a side street, ran a red light and crashed into multiple vehicles, one of which exploded on impact.
In a blink, lives were lost. In a blink, a person, a collection of colors and sounds and smells, of doors and corners and gardens, of layers and pieces and portions was gone—and not just one.
I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Haven’t stopped imagining what it would be like to be gone in an instant—never even knowing I was leaving.
Sometimes after car accidents like this I try to take comfort in hearing that someone was “killed on impact”, because it meant they felt no pain. But it’s overwhelming—incomprehensible, really—to grasp the weight of a loss that happens in an instant.
All those things that live inside a mind, all the hopes and dreams, all the plans not yet shared, all the one-word notes that won’t make sense to anyone else. Gone.
I’m not one to always treat myself nicely. I don’t spend enough time appreciating the value of being alive—of being me and being alive. But there’s something so strange about knowing that it can all be gone. That sometimes people are just gone. That every day, the world loses unique, creative, inspiring, one of a kind, irreplaceable people. And we never get to know all the things they knew. Never get to see all their colors.
There are so many things happening inside me—inside all of us—all the time, all at once. We are so much. We are so many. We are each an entire universe. And I think sometimes we forget.
We don’t know how long we will be here. How much time we have to share our universe with the world. But we do have a choice each day to appreciate the tremendousness of our lives. To realize how much exists in us, how many colors and corners. To see our abundance and that in those around us.
So today I’m just trying to appreciate it all. Everything that I am, as imperfect as that may be. And I hope you’ll do the same.
Embrace your multitudes. The world is lucky to have you.