Lazy Sunday mornings with the sun streaming in through forgotten slats and the gentle rush of those cars that just couldn’t wait until Monday. Flat on the bed, maybe a little sweat to remind of the heat coming in, it’s summer now, end of June. The blankets are tossed in a sleep that takes control from the controller, bundled up, shared and pulled apart again. A Sunday morning now is simply the only day where there isn’t a place or a time or a wait to be somewhere else.
Morning rolls into afternoon, every week, and the anxiety begins to build again.
There is a cliché as old as the nine to five which demonstrates the power that the have to do has over the want to do. I spoke recently about turning want to do into have to do. There is one that doesn’t give you a choice. Look around, see the walls and the drawers and the windows and, unless you are very lucky, remember that none of it belongs to you. Go to the office or the restaurant, the bar or the street, the park or the van – someone somewhere is waiting for you to do your bit, earn your crust, pay your dues. You came into this world in debt, you’ll leave it in debt. Nothing really changes there, does it?
The great have to do of the working week. Maybe weekends, maybe weekdays, maybe all over and all of the time. We have to earn, to pay back. Lock yourself in place and prepare for the next onslaught. Somewhere along the way I lost my dreams and my hopes. I lost my ambition and my place in this world. I settled for pay the next bill instead of planning the next step. So be it. It is what it is.
Today I try to change the narrative. You’ve read the words that describe the mind that tells of the way things are when they have no dawn. Too many times I’ve looked into the night and I can’t see the sunrise, the next step, the hurdle that brings me closer to those long-abandoned dreams. I’m not alone. On my path people walk with me, helping me, standing with me, supporting me. There are those that do it quietly and those that push me with shouts and laughter. But when the day is done, and I’m standing in the moonlight on the beach looking out at the surf, I stand alone. Only I can left the feet to take the next step forward. Only, where do I want that step to take me?
To say ‘I don’t know what I want to do’ is to miss the point of my mind. Remove the want to do. Want gets you nothing in this world. I wanted to do plenty of things that never amounted to shit. I wanted this or I wanted that. My want clashes with others. It clashes with myself. Want is nothing. Want is a word for children shouting that their playtime isn’t done yet. Time to grow up. What is it I have to do? Do I have to watch every episode or scroll every feed? Do I have to do those things? No. I have to live. I have to exist. I have to go on. I have to do something with the time that is given to me.
Now, in my life, I have to bring living back into being. I spoke previously about existing and about how it isn’t enough to get you to keep on going. Of course it isn’t. to exist is to take up space. Not for others but for yourself. You are taking your own body and putting it to no use. You don’t have to do that. You do it anyway. I’m reminded often of the question of the epitaph. I spend time thinking about death, not the physical being of it but the existential implication of it. What is it to die? We all have to die, that can’t be helped. So if we have to do it, should we just do it and get it over with? As you know I’ve wrestled with that and attempted to speed it only to find myself here, on a Sunday, typing this up. Maybe it seems that the method and the time of death are outside of my control. As it is, I have to accept that. I don’t want to. But want is nothing. And so I will.
So I have to live instead of die. Extreme to extreme, east to west, up to down. I can exist by simply sucking down air from dawn until dusk, waiting for the next day, ignoring the world. I can do that. But I don’t have to. Yesterday, like much of the city I was out on the streets for most of the day. I saw friends. I drank. I laughed. I walked. I engaged. I haven’t done that in a long time. I didn’t do that last year. It gave me life. It gave me energy. When you sit there existing, the thoughts of doing anything are tiring. They are wearing. Doing something will only drag you down. but it’s the opposite. I stood, I walked, I smiled, I took energy from that, I was alive.
I have to have more days where I use my time. I have to be real. Look into the days of existence, of nothing, of sucking down air and it isn’t real. It isn’t a story. It isn’t an epitaph for a life lived. Look out of the window. Do you see anyone walking? Do you see anyone alone? They’re out there, so many billions of humans, doing what they can to survive. All of them thinking, all of them listening to their own minds.
I have to do more with my life. I write. I read. I listen to music. These are things that help me. But I so rarely engage anymore. A wall stands between me and others. I don’t feel worthy. I don’t feel like I can contribute. I don’t feel as though there is any point to it. To me. But I have to change that because I am here. I have to live. I have to use this life that was given to me.
I have used a third of my life. I am over thirty years old. Best case scenario I get to do this twice over. When I get to sixty, if I get to sixty, I don’t want to look back and think of times wasted. I don’t want. I have to reconcile those two views. Want. Have.
I want to look out into the world and see a brighter tomorrow. I want to be the person I believe I had the chance to be.
To do that, I have to live. I have to get up, day after day, do the travel and put in the work.
And so on this Sunday, I want to make it to next Sunday with a smile on my face.
To do that, I have to live and to laugh, to learn and to last.
I have to live this life that’s been given to me. I have to.