On Washing Your Car.
I saw a man washing his car today. I wondered if I’d ever be that man. He seemed like he had it together, so infinitely together. I started wondering if there would ever be a moment where I grew up. In the past year, I’ve grown so much. I’ve learned how to love, how to appreciate the elderly and mentally disabled, how to hurt… This past year I held a baby for the first time and felt its chest rise and fall with breath. I felt disappointment. I felt ecstacy. I felt fear, real, looming fear. I felt the future, and it stung. I’m not sure if that was because it was so new or so impossibly large or maybe I was simply too small. I feel as if I’m sitting underneath Sylvia Plath’s infamous fig tree. On each fig, one of my possible life paths is written. There are so many figs, an insurmountable number. I feel as if I’m sitting here, just as she did, wasting away as the figs rot and fall to the ground simply because I can’t make up my mind. When will the day come when I stand and tear my teeth into one of these juicy fruit? When will I pick up the sponge and wash my car? When will I discipline my own children for running in the hallways? When will I pay for my own insurance? When will I have a savings account that grows instead of hemorrhages? When will I be proud of my existence?
I know the right thing to say is today. Today I will take a stand! Today I will make my life exciting and new and wonderful! It’s exciting and new and wonderful to con yourself into thinking that your life is going to change over night, but it doesn’t. That’s not how this all works. Maybe it’ll take months. Maybe it’ll take years. But today I’ve made the decision to start moving forward.
Cultivating a beautiful life takes care, determination, a dash of opportunity, and a whole lot of heart. I’ve recently made the mistake of hoping I’d find some motivation in work, relationships, or drink. I hoped that I’d find it sitting outside by the sea, watching the waves crash on the rocks, or sitting in a bar where all the regulars know my name. I was hoping it’d fall into my lap when I failed. It didn’t. I just wanted to spend more time sitting around wondering where exactly my path got dusty and muddled out. It’s become more and more apparent to me recently that motivation can’t be found. Inspiration isn’t some incredible internal combustion of passion and creativity. It’s something you cultivate within yourself.
When I was younger, I felt like I knew this. I felt like everything I’m realizing now, I understood as so obvious, but things have so much more weight now. The real world is upon me now, and I don’t need motivation just for school anymore. I need it to live my life. To support myself. To become something more. I need the weight of life to make myself real.