We just got back from our annual trip to St Augustine, Florida visiting our old neighbor from St Paul, Jean West. She is squarely an octogenarian and invites us down each year (yes, with the kids and the dog) and she proceeds to cook for us, recommend outings and play games and provide awesome conversation during any downtime. In short, she is amazing. She has lived an incredible life of travel, advocacy and constant fun and laughter. Her partner died a few years ago and she continues to host a non-stop array of friends, who are all pretty amazing in their own rights (present company excluded). We talked politics, history, musicals and old-times. She never lets us in the kitchen insisting on doing all the dishes and cooking.
Hanging out with her I am reminded of all the uncertainty in life particularly as we age. She is a constant reminder to seize the day and do it with a smile and a laugh. Nothing is beyond reach for any of us. We allow ourselves to be limited by the one thing that will certainly get in the way: the person in the mirror.
She reminds me not to complain. She reminds me to do what needs to be done each day. She is the reason I went for my run in the driving rain at 5am this morning. In short, she is a good reason to live and do what is needed to stay in touch with old friends and to continue to make new ones.
I returned to a stack of emails this morning a mile long. It was the final straw. I am going to defeat email. I am going to find a way to communicate that does not chain me to a desk every waking hour to respond to tiny lights in a computer screen. The key to freeing yourself is to do just it. Get up and walk out of the jail. So few of us are really willing to do that. We would rather stay locked up where it is safer. We would rather spend our time in the ways that others tell us are meaningful instead of finding our own meaning and living out our lives based on that. Being constantly thankful and ever unsatisfied is the trick behind the trick. It isn’t easy and requires practice. Each day demands work of us. St Paul in February where there are truly on two types of people: the quick and the dead.