Sometimes the most normal acts are the true rebellion.
On a morning like any other, I wonder if the day will come that I take it for granted. As natural as it feels, it is very different from what I imagined. Where did this life come from? Where did I turn and twist to end up here, with my brain and heart full of just what they want most?
As the coffeepot sizzles, I run my hands over the keyboard and begin my day. The reassuring ticking of fingers on the keyboard keeps my inner timer happy: tap-tap-tap through the day. As I dip alternately into memory and dreams for ideas, I know that I am lucky indeed. I shuffle thoughts, then words together and with them I reach out. When inspiration strikes, I offer it to others; when the questions form, I lean back, confident in those around me for support.
Day after day, I find my bliss in doing something that makes my mind race, my heart pound and my soul sing. I find it by digging up courage where a younger me had none, by speaking up instead of holding my tongue and by chasing what I want. I chase life. I reach out to others, I order the lobster, I extend a hand, I hit “send” and I get on a plane to gaze up at New York City skyscrapers.
I grew up watching someone I knew closely do the opposite, and it’s a strange sort of business to see a path early on you know you will refuse to take. Our younger selves tend to run at our problems with arms open, full of questions and emotion, with little thought to the future and what will become of us decades later. My younger self set aside emotion, answered her own questions and with the image of a pen in her mind, wrote on her arm “don’t stop living” and meant it. My deepest rebellion will be watching someone else’s footsteps, and carefully planting my feet in unspoiled ground. It will have been going against every instinct I have and walking away, in order that my feet find the gentle slope I know awaits me. I will not climb someone else’s mountains.
For I watched someone’s life get smaller, day by day, year by year. Will I ever know the reasons, the meaning behind how the cracks on the sidewalk added up? I don’t know. I am almost sure I won’t. But I am smart enough to see the shadows, to have watched where light and dark danced along a path and I carry my own light.
I may well rush headlong into the next decade taking on more than I should, always saying yes to the next, bigger thing. I’ve been doing it for years, first as I admired that third-floor apartment with room just for me, then later as I made one decision after another, saying yes. Yes, I will. Yes, I want to. Yes, we should. Yes, I do. Yes, let’s go. Those answers have moved me through promotions and provinces, through marriage, mistakes and miraculous children. I may never make it to bed before midnight, but who would I be without so much on my mind?
My heart was made for more, so I say yes. My arms were made for more, so I say yes. My life has room for more, so I say yes. While there is no hole I need to fill, no emptiness that keeps me awake at night, it moves me deeply to have this life. I will walk in the light with my head up, my children near and my heart pounding, happy. The days ahead will find me still saying yes, still looking for ways to fill up my life. If I think it will make me happy, bring light to my life or another’s or make a great story someday, I extend a hand. I press “send” and I order the lobster.
I will fill my cup and my life to overflowing, and hope my children are watching closely, that they may learn to do the same.
Jen Taylor is a wife, mom of two kids and a freelance writer and editor. She blogs about everyday life, family and writing at littlemissmocha.com.