To Annie Dillard

What does it feel like to be alive?

What does it feel like to wake up every day and go?


Every second, constantly moving forward, constantly progressing, evolving. Never going back.

Being alive is this feeling of forward. This feeling of the push of the universe against your back and the pull of time drawing you closer to its outstretched hands. Time drawing you closer to an ending that no man has ever escaped, an ending that can never be avoided, a story that must conclude with “The End”.

And in between this push and pull is you.

Riding the wave that is created between Time and the Universe. Learning how to swim in it.

This is it.

This is the only chance you get.

This is getting the part and learning the lines and playing the role and earning your standing ovation. This is the worry that the butterflies in your stomach will come fluttering out of your mouth and replace the words that you were going to say. This is trying to have the perfect image, trying to find your character and be that person all the way through. This is the feeling of jitters as the curtain goes up, the sound of the murmurs dying, and the breath before it begins. This is the relief of the first clap ringing through the air as the lights fade to black.

This is when you run too fast too quickly and your feet cannot keep up with your body and your body cannot keep up with your mind and suddenly your mind is up and your body is down and your knees burn as they are attacked by the shadowy opposite of the clouds that you were trying to reach.

This is the dizzying, exciting, nauseating truth that tomorrow will come, and you have no option but to face it head on, you only get to choose the face you greet it with.

This is the feeling of laughter. The feeling of bubbles. This is the feeling of light. The feeling of flying or falling or floating through the atmosphere. Of jumping and knowing that you will land, but still hoping that you don’t. This is the feeling of roundness, and oneness: the circulation of blood through your veins, the inevitable next inhale, next exhale, next… inhale, next… exhale… Even when you are sure that your heart has skipped a beat and is now incapable of getting back on tempo. When you are sure that your lungs will forever have an insatiable want for air. This is the connection between the roots of the trees and the cutting of the umbilical cord – the all at once letting go and incredible need to connect. This is a cycle.

This is acknowledging mistakes. It is the feeling of those tiny pebbles of doubt or shame or guilt that keep you grounded, but that slowly erode until you know that the sand that is inside you is only a place for the water to rest on the beach, not a field of land mines waiting to explode at the worst possible moment.

This is here. And this is now. And this is next. Even cycles happen forward.

You get no choice to remain still or to go. Even when you do not lift your feet yourself to carry on, you are moved. However heavy. However light.

You are moved.

So you feel life from its deepest, most terrifyingly steep drop, all the way to the highest peak on which you are the ruler of the world.

You realize that the best performances always maintain a little bit of magic in the improvisation.

You feel the sting of the hard truth of failure every time you fall, every time you skin your knees and burn from the outside in.

You embrace every time you fly – every second in which you are airborne, because it cannot be known which will be the last. When will Time will claim its prize? When will he win the game which has always been rigged in his favor?

You let yourself float in the bubbles, right on the edge of the laughter. You live in this moment, in this bubbly eternity in which volume and sense and time and location all fade into the background and all that is left is a little round being.

You do not hold onto the rocks.

Because this collision of burning and falling, of flying and circling, of running and fading, this push and pull, this forward motion, this massive run on sentence that you title “My Life”:

This is it.


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