Wednesday, March 20, 2013


"I was 21 years when I wrote this song.
  23 now, but I won't be for long.
  Time hurries on,
  And the leaves that are green turn to brown."
(Leaves That Are Green, Simon & Garfunkel)

I used to get anxious when I thought about the future. I remember sitting on a swing set with my cousin Jacq at the end of a long, hot summer day, and talking about our fears of entering grade 7- the year before we entered high school. I think I was nervous to have a locker, and to find my classes, and to be in a school with children as old as 18- who I guess aren't really children anymore, when you reach the legal age of voting.
But then it just naturally happened. One day I was going to the new school, and I was with my friends and a bunch of kids I didn't know, and everything went smoothly. The transition was easy.
The same thing happened with university. One year I had no idea what to expect. I didn't have a clue what a "major" or a "minor" was, or why I had to "declare" one, or why the Engineers had such a nice new building and I was stuck in a 1970's nightmare with asbestos in the walls. Then, about half way through my third week, everything fell into place. This was fun. I could talk to strangers, make new friends, learn such fascinating subjects.

Right now I feel the same way about the future. I have no idea how I am supposed to deal with my taxes, or find a fulfilling career, or even push out babies one day. But if I have gained any wisdom whatsoever from my past, it should be enough to know that when the time comes about for these things, I will find the strength and the courage and the humour to navigate them with grace and humility.

I'm turning 24 soon. People now make fun of us in our early 20's. You know nothing, they scoff. You are still barely formed human beings. You have no idea who you are and what you want. And I do, and don't, agree with them. Yes, maybe I am still learning new things about myself every other week, and yes, maybe I make mistakes more than you do. I still have a long way to go to figure out everything about myself and the world. But, I know what I want.

I want to be near to my biological family, and my chosen family. Maybe this doesn't mean geographical location, but that's not all that nearness entails. Family and my closest friends are the most important things in my life. When I am on my deathbed, the classes I took and the jobs I held and the money I hoarded will mean nothing. It boils down to love, plain and simple. Giving it, and receiving it.

I want to give joy to those around me. More superficially, I want a home full of flowers and laughter. I want to see more of the world, and discover how everyone is the same, and yet unique. I want to crusade for peace. I want to not stand idly by when wrongs are being done. I want to find the strength to do the right thing even when it hurts me.

I want to stay up all night sometimes, eating cake and drinking beer with my friends. I want to see more sunrises. I want to slurp noodles from a bowl of pho and laugh at the noise. I want to be held tight at night, and I want to be happy with being alone at night too.

I want to stretch my body to its limits. I want to feel whole in my skin. I want to feel every molecule of my being tingle when I jump off the dock after laying in the hot sun into the navy depths of the lake. I want to sail around some PNG islands and become tanned from the sun, and strong from hard work, and bleached from the salt water.

"I've discovered that there are only ever two reasons why anybody does anything: there is fear, and there is love." (Sister Julienne, Call the Midwife)  I want to do things out of love, not fear. I want to have children, and I want to not be frightened by the amount of love I feel towards them.

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