If I had to describe 2019 in one word, it would be raw.
I thought about making my first blog of the year a listicle as to what I learned in 2019, it was a big year after all. I survived my first year in New York. Major. No awards are given for this feat, but there should be. I quit drinking. My love/hate affair with alcohol began at age 15. I’m now 31 and finally learned to say "No thanks". Half of my life blurred and black due to this substance, but I took my power back once I admitted alcohol was the one robbing me of it. Major. Once alcohol was removed from the forefront of my life the real work began allowing me the privilege to take accountability for a lot of things.
There's much to celebrate at the end of a messy, raw year. I was able to give myself some space to see things more clearly. With more clarity I was able to comprehend many of the happenings in my life weren’t entirely the fault of others, nor entirely my own, but I had to embrace (and I mean hug that shit close) that all of it was my responsibility regardless. I understood we are all humans confronted by pasts that shaped our narratives about the world, and in the process of existing we project these realities onto one another. It’s not always graceful, or pretty, or successful, but it’s life. And part of life's duty is learning how to remove yourself as a cog in the wheel of destruction that endangers the world and the people who inhabit it. It's been a slow, long process removing myself, but the work is being done.
So, this blog will not be the listicle of the top ten things to inspire you like writing your goals down or to drink more green smoothies in 2019. That feels too cliché, and I’m sure there’s already a dozen million or so other blogs out there that really drive that home. Instead, I’m going to write specifically on the biggest take away I’ve found. Not just last year, but in all my life’s years. It’s starting to add up into one uncomfortable, often confusing equation. Math was never my thing. But the sum keeps revealing itself to me as the most profound truth there is, and that’s why I’m going to write about the message death sends, and how lovely it is.
What if I told you one day, hopefully a while from now, you will lose everything. Every item you ever purchased will be left behind. Your couch, where you spent many a night watching Netflix and eating Cheeze-It's. Your bed, where the people you both loved and maybe loathed shared the darkness next to you. Your mirror, where you checked how thin or how fat you looked will no longer be yours. Your home or apartment that you decorated with pictures and pillows that somehow represented “this is me” - gone. Your children and your lovers and friends alike will disappear. One day, everything you think belongs to you will no longer be yours. Your very life, the thing that allows you to breathe, eat, see, hear, and feel will be gone as well.
You are going to die one day.
You may be told the news it’s coming, or have to live in suspense. It may be fast or it may be slow. It may be tragic or it may be peaceful. But none of this is up to us to know for certain. It would spoil all the fun if we knew everything. We would twist and contort our realities in an attempt to avoid our fates, as if we don’t do that enough in pretending we know. Though we think having all the answers would hold some key, I believe the key is that there isn’t a key. Or rather, the experience we're having is the key. Maybe we are the key.
The Universe speaks in many languages, many unbeknownst to us, but my personal favorite is how it speaks in riddles. In mystery. In paradoxes. Conundrums. How up means down and down can be up if you just change how you perceive it. How, in order to gain more love you have to give more love. How death and birth are one in the same. How giving and receiving are two peas of one pod. And how you are given this perhaps one, mysterious life with no regard for your confusion as to why this is so.
The Universe has better things to do than worry for us, you see. The Universe creates, and that is that. I once read a horoscope (Pisces) that told me, “Be ambitious like the Universe is ambitious, nothing less.” And I loved that for all of us, because it’s become so very clear how little we have to lose. Nothing truly belongs to us. Not even our own life is for keeps. Everything here is borrowed. It is something we must give back when it’s all said and done. What a beautiful thing to lend someone. What a profound level of trust that was to grant us this existence. To say, "This is yours for now, but one day I'll need it back, and you will have to give it. What you do between here and there is up to you."
I've mistreated my life a great deal. I've punished, poked, and prodded at it. I've said why can't you be more like that life, and why was I given this piece of shit life? Until recently I never viewed it as a gift, it was a burden I had to endure. Bummer I spent so much time trying to cease to exist instead of expanding, but no point in blaming myself now. I think even the Universe would agree Life is a confusing, painful thing to just wake up in one day. I can't imagine the Universe blames me, or you, for anything. The Universe just creates, remember?
So remind yourself to do away with the shame and blame game when you can. It's oddly much easier to just admit when you’re wrong, to ask for help when you need it, and to remember you don’t know anything, and that no one else does either. Maybe the Universe doesn’t even know what it’s doing, but I feel it must know something. Have you ever gazed deeply at a flower or watched a sunset? Maybe it’s just so in the flow of creation there’s no time to analyze it. Then again, maybe that’s precisely what we are; feedback. A code. A language with which it speaks to itself. I’d like that. I would love if I am the Universe attempting to explain itself to itself. As Sam. A sometimes funny human with a curious mind and a weight complex.
Once you catch onto this it all feels so much lighter, but you have to remember to play along. I wink at the Universe, and say, I know what you’re up to. I know what you’re up to because I am you. And then you realize when you peel the layers of existence back far enough you reveal its core, and it's all just Tyler Durden. And though I am not the first nor the last human to wake up to this, it feels good to be here. It feels good to feel apart of this story I’ve told myself about the mystery we live in.
But of course, I don’t really know anything for sure. You never can be too sure of anything, but you get hunches along the way. As of late I’ve grown quite comfortable in feeling them out. In following them and giving them a shot. In gravitating towards “why not?” instead of just plain “why?”. What better way to spend your time here than to bow down and just play? To surrender. Of course there’s always work that needs to be done. So much work with no end in sight, for injustice seems to be part of the play as well. But if you zoom out and look at it more complexly, yet more simply, you’ll see the message is semi-clear. To be in the flow of your life with no attachment to it’s outcome. To work to work. To love to love. To live to live. To play to play. To make your ends your means and your means your ends. To exist knowing it’s ending, and to want to exist anyway. You can acknowledge your death and be excited for your life at the same time. You can live knowing you’ll lose everything, and love it just the same.
I’ll leave you on this note because I wanted to keep this blog short and sweet, just like life ;) I watched Forrest Gump last night. It’s one of my top five favorite movies. I could write an entire blog on the film and its profundity. I've observed it year after year, but last night it said something new to me, which is a brilliant way to realize ones growth; when things you’ve known forever start speaking to you differently. At the end of the movie as Forrest is speaking to Jenny’s grave he says:
“I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floatin' around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happenin' at the same time.”
And whether you prefer to live more simply or more deeply, I can’t find a better to put it. May your 2020 unearth more mystery and more complexity, and may you show up for it, just as you are.
Love you all. If you enjoyed this, please share. I'm off social media for the time being so I'm leaving it up to you. Happy New Year!