Don’t look back, you’re not going that way

I have this phrase glued to the wall above my front door. It’s the last thing I see as I leave the door, just above an Aristotle quote “We are what we repeatedly do” (particularly apt for someone with OCD) and Hemingway, “Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”

I mean to live my life deliberately.

It doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes, in the middle of an ordinary moment of an ordinary day, I realise that I am not in control. I am smaller than a grain of sand in a universe so big I cannot grasp its size.

I am no Aristotle, certainly no Hemingway. I do not set trends or make waves. Most days I scrabble to make tomorrow just a tiny bit better than yesterday. Even then, it’s a tiny, selfish thing. I work for myself. My own benefit. For loves ones. Their benefit. The greater good never steps into my life.

Not because I am that self-centred, it’s just that most days I can just keep myself from drowning in regret, grief and the impossibility of wishing for more than what I have.

Some days I feel like a fish on dry land, believing that I am one step ahead, on the brink of evolving into a land-walking animal about to live life in a whole new different way. Some days though, days like today, I just feel like a fish flopping on the sand, choking on air, doomed.

Time will tell.

I think, either way, whichever way life takes me, that I want to a happy fish. I would rather be a dying fish content in the ideal dream of a future filled with possibilities than one believing itself to be doomed when in reality, a new world awaits.

When I was younger, I used to think that I wanted to be the fish who didn’t wrap themselves in thoughts of comfort, believing things that weren’t true. I wanted to be the fish who knew what lay ahead and accepted that reality dead on.

But the future isn’t set. I am not a fish but a cat. Given that I cannot know what is true or possible, I would rather believe in moon shots than abject failure.

In my head is Prufrock, Anne Sexton, e.e. cummings, but on my wall above¬†my desk is a handwritten note that says “Not lack of resources, but lack of resourcefulness,” something I scribbled down on a marathon morning of watching TED talks and now can’t attribute, but it stuck with me.

Above it is a drawing of our family by a 4-year old, including the two cats and next to it a rabbit who have swallowed a rectangle. No idea what the story behind that one is, but it was a gift and as all mothers do, I treasure it and stuck it on the wall.

I mean to live my life deliberately. I don’t think it’s ever going to work out that way, but I know that there is a choice – red or green, left or right, heads or tails. I choose heads and hope to win 92 flips in a row.

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