There is no earthly way that I have only been here for a month. No. No WAY.
How, in only a month, could someone have lived as much life as we have all somehow managed to live? For some reason, “living life” seems to have a _volume_ now that it has never had before. It’s not a linear, flat process that involves waking up and completing the day’s ration of excitement with the limited thrill that comes from plutonic existence.
Here, you can live fully. Here, you can live empty. And the difference between those volumes is dependent on the variety you choose to put in the lifetime that takes place between the beginning and end of each week, each day.
This week, I lived a full lifetime as a family member. I CALLED MY MOM. In panic: a full-fledged freaking, geeking college kid ready to call it quits and join the circus… even if it meant cleaning up after the three-legged camel in the back tent. “Get me out of here!” In that lifetime, I grew from the mentality that I was all alone in this non-Home, without the family that has gone from sight, to the realization that they’re only as far away as I want to put them. And if I choose the nearness of a fuzzy, pixilated Skype date? Somehow, crazy-Tuesdays aside, we can make that work. That’s one lifetime down.
Lifetime #2, that of a student, bowled me right over. My October schedule, two slim pages in a planner that has already worn thin around the binding and which has too many dog-eared pages to bother counting, looks like the planner of my whole college mashed into one.
Somehow, EVERY day but two has a meeting or an Ultimate practice or a concert or some other activity of interest on it. The scribbles of arrows and dates and locations mix to form a web of anxiety and confusion and HOWCANIDOTHIS crazy. At least, that’s what I’d thought at the beginning of this week’s lifetime. Now, in those scribbles, I can find words written between the haphazard lines: Progress, Growth, Experience. True, it takes a bit of digging some days. But for the sake of peace, I’ll dig. Deep.
Let’s see… what could the next lifetime be? Could it be the musical lifetime? Learning more music than I thought could be learned outside of the boot-camp-like atmosphere of the All Ohio Youth Choir, with more complex rhythms and melodies than these ears ever knew. Could it be the physical lifetime? Carrying my largely sleep-deprived yet somehow chipper form through the bike rides to the far, dusty corners of campus in an effort to dash through the doors with a healthy handful of milliseconds to spare. Could it be the romantic lifetime? Going from an aching yet respectably independent heart to one mesmerized by the serendipity (FAVORITE WORLD ALERT) of an uncannily cheerful match. Then there are the lifetimes lived in faith and emotion and friendship and autonomy…
Which raises the question: How am I not ages old by now? How as all of this living, fully living, not worn me down to a premature elderliness of heart? Oh, but I’m too well sustained! There is something about knowing that not a moment goes by empty, that every minute is filled with an opportunity that could echo for years in the halls of memory… that a variety of lifetimes can be found in just a month.
This is multi-life lifestyle (odd, but fun!) is not for everyone. Some need a focus, an area to grow. One aspect of life to take charge of fully and explore to its bare elements. Someday, I hope to relax in my home again and live that way.
But for now? I create finish lines. I tell myself that after the 15-hour day that is my Tumultuous Tuesday or the meetings-packed world that is my Wacky Wednesday, I will allow myself a calm Autumn victory lap of campus… biking from one end to the other. On Friday mornings, I will treat myself to the best of the local bakery. When we cross the weekend’s finish line (the best of all), I will enjoy a grand ol’ time with the friends that make college more than just an academic venture. I text my siblings after I turn in tests. If six years of track taught me one thing: You will never quit the race if you know that white line is a mere measure of paces from a willing pair of legs.
Call me crazy. Truly, sometimes I might be. I live fully, sure! I keep my eyes open. I run hard. I play. But sometimes I need to blink… and my life has a way of reminding me. Even by throwing sand in my eyes. But for as long as this childish heart plays in the sandbox, the variety of lifetimes that seem to flash in that blink of the eye won’t age me a day.
In fact, I feel more spry and young at heart today than I have since I last climbed my tree at home.