Living each day as my last.
I’m listening to The Strokes right now. “You Only Live Once” caught my eye from the S’s in my itunes. I haven’t listened to this song since I first started my crazy project 11 months ago. I pumped it up last October and danced around my tiny room in Kew Gardens, feeling free and full of possibility.
It’s nearly one year later and I still feel free and full of possibility, but more than that. The idea that I could sum up in one sentence was sent into the design studio and visualised, moving to two dimensions and then three, taking on life. I didn’t seek out these new dimensions, it just happened.
Just before I finished the three months I had first set out to do, The Bucket List arrived through my mail slot. I hadn’t based my idea on this film and had resisted watching it. But I was ready for it by January. I have to admit, I was definitely jealous that Morgan Freeman had such a rich sidekick to shuttle the two from adventure to adventure via personal jet. But the emotional strings – the untangling and carefully (re)tying the loose ends – stirred me deeply. Jack Nicholson finally bowed to the last few grains of sand in his hourglass and made amends with his daughter. I couldn’t help thinking in a broader sense, could this living each day as the last thing sometimes actually enable unhealthy “let bygones be bygones and sweep it under the rug” relationships?
It all became a bit less flowery and idealistic in May when my doctor told me I needed to have a very serious surgery and risked losing an organ until then. And even more, my grandma was slipping away. Each action during these few months felt more considered and poignant.
And then came Before Sunset. Ethan Hawke was putting the moves on Julie Delpy saying,
“Alright, alright, think of it like this: jump ahead ten, twenty years, okay? And you’re married. Only your marriage doesn’t have that same energy that it used to have, you know? You start to blame your husband. You start to think of all those guys you met in your life and what might have happened if you’d picked up with one of them, right? Well I’m one of those guys, that’s me! So think of this as time travel. From then to now to find out what you’re missing out on. See, what this really could be is a gigantic favor to both you and your future husband to find out that you’re not missing out on anything; I’m just as big a loser as he is, totally unmotivated, totally boring, and you made the right choice and you’re really happy.”
Time travel!! I hadn’t thought of this. It was brilliant. It moved me past the “weightiness of life” bit. I regained my excitement. I was liberated. Emboldened. Living life in reverse time travel. Doing all of the things that I would have wanted to do when I’m a crusty old geiser (actually, strike that, I fully plan on being a hot granny). I know what you’re thinking: my mind is a “special” place… but it’s catching a bit, isn’t it?
And then tonight. I went to see the bug-eating adventurer Bear Grylls speak at Holy Trinity Brompton. I expected a night full of snakes, skydiving and other survival stories, which I got. But also a new perspective. Bear talked about God and Jesus giving life. And whilst the gratitude theme has surfaced before for me, tonight what really resounded was this: the idea that in this very day, living today as my last is a celebration of that life that God has given.
So there you go. I left inspired. And also a bit relieved that between this realisation and the delicacy pictured below, I have ticked enough boxes in the Bear category for the moment.