On Living Your Own Strange Life


There is doubt. There is so much doubt. But there is also certainty.

There is the continuity of not fitting in, of feeling the need to explain yourself. There are all the superficial (but sacred!!) ways in which life is meant to be lived as a nuclear unit — what will I put on my Christmas card? What metrics can I talk about when people say ‘how have you been’ and I know they are looking for a passing comment about work or whether I’m going to get married soon.

But there is also the coffee shop late in the evening, city lights and people and traffic beyond the windows.

There is classic rock or hip hop on the stereo — something with a beat, the words don’t matter. Everyone around is quiet, but happy. They are reading or on their laptops, working, becoming bigger. The appearance of night is a surprise to us all. Walking home after I have been writing all day, I will feel like I have finished an expensive meal with friends. The day is done. I will have satisfaction to spare.

I am in love with the way all my mornings turn into a night like this.

I am in love with the way there are so many lives going on in the background, and that mine is a background to all the people I share my coffee shop with.

I knew as a kid, somehow, that I was going to spend nights walking through the city at night with someone next to me eating ice cream. I don’t like ice cream, but I like the walks. I like that there is an ice cream place a few blocks from me and that we spend ten minutes talking to the worker about how proud she is of her son who is marrying another man next summer. I like how easy it is to laugh. I like that I take a few ‘maintenance licks’ off your cone and that we don’t care about all the germs we are sharing.

There are things to worry about — there is an uncertain future. What will I do? Who will be there for me? And I can’t give the answers everyone else can because I am not living the life everyone else is. I have to forge the answers from scratch. This is lonely labor.

But I have my own unique set of things to be at peace about. I am following that shadowy voice inside, this much I know for sure.

There is a fancy meal in the mountains and I are enjoying it alone. I am on an adventure that I chose and planned and paid for. I am going to do exactly what I feel like doing for all the days stretched out before me. There are brief moments when I breathe in and out and know that this is the way it is supposed to be.