Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What Have I Done?

I’ve been having a mid life crisis of sorts.  How did I end up here?

So many things I wanted to do with my life and really, I haven’t done most of them.  Where is my Oscar?  Where is my Emmy and Tony Award, side by side on my mantle?  Where is my mantle?

Like many over the age of, say, 35 (yes, let's say 35), I wonder where the time went.  And if I could have spent it better.  And if I had spent it better, been better, done better, would I be in a better place?  Like where I imagined myself to be when I day-dreamed at age 12?

Living in L.A., one is faced daily with the nagging feeling that one has not done enough.  That others are doing more.  That something is missing.  That maybe it's too late.

One big mind fuck.
My mind is in such a place right now.  I place my head against my pillow and close my eyes.  I scan my entire life and what I’ve done.  Like a meditation, my life passes before me as I breathe in and breathe out.  Images, memories, familiar feelings.  A home movie in my mind.  And what I’ve done - what I’ve experienced - isn’t so much about what I have printed on my business card or my resume.  

I’ve gone camping, I've skinny dipped, I’ve fallen in love, I've climbed trees, I’ve driven in a convertible with the wind whipping my hair and the sun on my shoulders, I've crashed that same convertible in to a barn hurting nothing but my pride.

I’ve awakened feeling rested and content, I've awakened hungover, I’ve spent sleepless nights excited about the following day, I've spent sleepless nights worrying, I've spent sleepless nights with the one I love, I’ve had orgasms - lots of orgasms - I’ve felt bliss, I’ve felt joy, I’ve experienced deep and profound peace, I’ve felt connected to every living thing in the world, I've felt connected to myself, to God; I’ve had transcendent experiences while acting, while singing, while meditating, while teaching, while making love, while laughing.
I’ve made an audience cry and an audience laugh and often I’ve made the same audience do both. I’ve known deep sorrow, I’ve felt alone and I’ve felt connected to everyone in the world through this suffering – through knowing everyone has suffered and everyone will again and how this very fact connects us all.  I’ve swam in the ocean, I’ve been stung by jellyfish, stung by bees, stung by others’ words; I’ve wanted to end it all and I’ve also wanted to share my bursting happy heart with the world. I’ve eaten food off a taco truck, a dosa truck, I've eaten food off of someone’s body, been handcuffed by my own volition, gotten sand in my shoes and my pants, danced till my lungs hurt, won a spelling bee, won acting awards (no Oscar yet), won someone’s love, won $10 from a Lotto ticket, made money, spent money, lost money, ridden a horse, ridden a pony and ridden the family collie when I was 3.
I’ve held kittens and puppies and baby horses and baby rats (yes, rats), and have loved, been loved, been grateful, been present, been hopeful, wished for more time and wished for less.
I've been confused and been filled with insight, had my cheeks pinched, my feet tickled, my hair pulled, my various body parts attended to with delight; I've been proud, I've been humble, I've been humiliated, I've tripped and fallen on my face in front of people (mostly on purpose while doing pratfalls).  I’ve written stories and songs and theatre and comedy and a poem that was published in Teen Magazine when I was 13.
I was a mime for three days, I've done experimental theatre and performance art for a non-English-speaking audience who understood about as much as I did.  I've sold sandwiches, sold flowers, sold cocktails, sold subscriptions to the L.A. Times; I’ve lived in San Francisco and Chicago and Manhattan and at least 15 places in the Los Angeles area.  I’ve spoken bad German in Germany, bad French in France, bad Spanish in Puerto Vallarta and Hollywood and Mr. Garcia's Spanish class.

I've found $20 on the street.  I've found myself and lost myself when I didn't mean to and when I did.  I've hated myself, loved myself, felt deep abiding compassion for myself and for my heart and how I yearn to be of service to myself and to others this lifetime and how I have felt there is still time.  There is still time.  Another half of a life – or more – to taste strawberries and drink cheap champagne and dream new dreams and squeeze my boyfriend’s ass when he gets out of the shower.   Or it could end tomorrow.  How lucky I've been if this is where it stops.
I've lived a life.  A life of details that are not insignificant.  Many of these details occurred while I've been biding time waiting for my life to be better, to be different.  And some of these details could not have occurred at all without my surrender to the present moment - without me falling in love with whatever is right in front in me.

Who says I haven’t done a thing with my life?  Not me.  But I may feel different tomorrow.  And so it goes.