Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Make a Wish

Today I am 37 years old. I had every intention of writing today about the wrinkles and the lagging metabolism and the body's assholian tendency to hold on to weight. And my tendency to make up new words, particularly ones that integrate a curse. But I won't, because none of it matters.

I will give you, instead, some of the knowledge -- Fulghum style --  I have accumulated over my years as I approach crone-dom. I know, dramatic. Suck it.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned at Dana Farber
As it turns out, I was looking in the wrong places for meaning in my life. In the end, meaning was not found at the end of the working-mom rat race or even during Power Vinyasa yoga class or inside a book, but right there in my car as I drove my friend to Boston with her 6 year old in the backseat.
Here is what I know.
Everywhere you go, bring jokes and food. Be ready and willing to laugh, and cry, at all times. Buying someone a coffee is the universal language of empathy with foreign strangers across the hospital waiting room.
Be there, but don't intrude. Hold hands when crossing the hallway.
Drive safely, even when someone is puking in the backseat. Have some humanity. And don't run people over on crosswalks or anywhere, for that matter. Never text while driving.
The job you think is so important is just a job. True purpose comes in the dark hours of friendship when just being there to catch someone before they fall is worth your entire annual salary.
You will never, as long as you live, have the right words when it comes to a kid with cancer. It's better to say the wrong ones than to say nothing at all.
Reach out. Ask for help. Take it as it comes.
Leave a gift at a friend's doorstep. Make a meal. Do your part. It matters.
Take your kids on dates, one on one. Drink them in while they still want to date you. Say thank you, on the inside, every time they share something of themselves. Stand in absolute gratitude whenever humanly possible.
Forgive yourself for your judgements; know that they bring you nowhere worth being.
And always, when driving away, say I Love You. You only get one go-around on this crazy roller coaster ride so make it count.
If you have healthy children and a loving partner to come home to, you win the goddamn game and don't forget that not even for one minute.
Because then you lose.
Smile, laugh, cry, weep.

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