What if this is as okay as it gets? And it’s okay?
What if one cat being underweight and one cat being overweight, one cat crying for me but never sitting in my lap, and one cat never crying but always sitting in my lap isn’t because I am an inadequate, unlovable cat owner, but is as okay as these cats with this owner are going to get? And it’s okay?
What if every person I see or meet or work with does not have to acknowledge me for me to know I exist?
What if I don’t have to check in with my perception – or with my perception of my mother’s or father’s perceptions – in every single situation and with every single person I see or meet? What if they don’t have to be evaluated or analyzed or measured or assessed or even considered at all?
What if I don’t have to try to find a way to write about every single moment of my life?
What if I have no job to do in my lifetime, but just have a lifetime?
What if I’ve been some help to some people some of the time over the years, but what I’m fundamentally good at is coloring? Within the lines? And not best at coloring or the most prolific colorer, but just pretty good with a crayon?
What if what I have most wanted (I always thought I most wanted enlightenment but I think under it I was always seeking freedom from harm) isn’t possible to have?
What if what I most don’t want to happen inevitably will happen?
What if having had my 13 year-old bright white teeth straightened by over 365 days of my precious little life in braces doesn’t protect my teeth from darkening and crumbling when they’re done? What if my teeth and eyes and mind have shorter lives than my body? They’ve done what they can and can do no more? What if someday I smile like a toddler, earbuds playing the soundtrack from Frozen, and gum my veggie burgers? What if that’s not a shame, but okay?
What if having many loves, rather than one forever love, is okay?
What if I wanted less, not because I had successfully scolded myself into it, but because I had started from within to sense my wanting and discovered a big box of crayons, a Barbie coloring book, and a pot of tea with milk?
What if when pocketbooks are stolen, or pit bulls throw themselves against my storm door, or people tell me I am bad and wrong, I do what needs to be done and no more than that? What if I feel what needs to be felt and no more, and think what needs to be thought and no more? That I give each happening its due, but no more?
What if the things that happen to me don’t fill me like marrow does bones but are “places” on my skin that just are what they are?
What if, starting at 55, I never again create another new thing, start a new enterprise, take on a new project? What if 55 years of effortful, creative productivity is enough?
(There are the tears.)
What if I felt like I had made my fair and just contribution to the okayness of things, that my existence was justified, and that now, in my daily living, for the most part, I would neither add to, nor take away from, okayness?
If this is as okay as it gets – and it’s okay – I would not have to live in alarm all the time, expecting the unexpected, because it’s now expected and I can calmly accept this, give it its due and handle it when it comes.
I wouldn’t feel like I lack all value when people heading out to their cars from the grocery store don’t make eye contact with me.
I wouldn’t have to push myself to be more creative, go deeper, think harder, do better, do more, or force myself to press on even when I am tired. I could rest.
I could take the Barbie coloring book off my Amazon wish list and go ahead and order it. I’ve already got the crayons.