With my head in the sand of school, the world turned around me, and I kept my horizons narrow and focus tight. What I failed to realize was, well, mortality. You’re young and learning and the last thing you think of is your body—it does what you ask it to do, and it doesn’t sideline your plans with pain, inflexibility, or hospital stays.

My father is fighting cancer. My aunt died. My German teacher died. So, when Mykala and I drove back from Lutsen a few days ago, I looked a the gray sky a little differently. What would it be like if this winter was your last? What if this blizzard is the one you have to remember, and all others will just be walks you take in your mind? What if this Christmas marks the last time you set up the tree? What if, sometime soon, you’ll have to conjure the scent of balsam in your memory, hoping it will mask the acrid detergents and ethanol hand cleansers?

I want to understand the preciousness of my life, but I haven’t been able to do it consistently. Just one look at the bank statement or the loan consolidation, and I’m pulled right back into the everyday concerns of life. Out of the experiential and into the narrative. Yet I hope to avoid the amazing hypocrisy of both Ben Franklin and Samuel Pepys in my personal writing—they always seemed to espouse the virtues of qualities they did not have.

Anyhow, I’m listening to Bon Iver’s Re: Stacks, and Mykala is on her way home. This, too, is precious.

2 comments left


Mat +1

You cannot constantly live for the “very next might be the very last”. It’s a depressing state. I’ve been thinking a lot about this myself; my father-in-law’s funeral is tomorrow. He too passed of cancer. While I’ve been wondering what it must be like to know the end, it also strikes me that perspective is something that needs balance. Yes, you must fight the everyday battles. Yes, you also need to remind yourself of how fragile it all is. What you might think I’d say next is that you must find a middle, but that’s not exactly true.

What I think you must find is a way to always be above things. It’s a difficult concept to put into words, but you must imagine that you control you, and that the everyday things are a part of going through the world. Bills need to be paid, food bought, etc., but those things are a means to get you to experiences you will carry with you. The Christmas present, the house, the drive… those are all experienced by doing the “right” things in your everyday battles. The spoils of those battles give you the means to have experiences to share and opportunities to feel love and warmth with those you love you.

So fight the battles, but understand what they are for. Understand that you are not planning for 1,000 years from today. You are planning for this one life. Do the things that help make this life grand, and you won’t have to sit and worry about things like whether something will be your last. Do those things, and have those times which make you ok if it is the last time. Once you have, you won’t find yourself worried about whether it is the last time; that worry only happens if you aren’t doing the right things now.

We all die; what you’re worried about is not living. Go and live.

Alexander Micek

Wow, thanks for the comment, Mat. My goal with this space has been to cultivate this kind of discourse—I’d much rather have one thoughtful, interesting response like yours than 14 Facebook “Likes”.

Your thoughts do a great job building on my half-formed thoughts about walking the line between the exigencies of daily living and the arc of one’s life.

Brief Notes Nearby