- How old do you think you'll live to be?
For the longest time, I thought it would be 42, which happens in just over 3 months now. But a stress test last year turned out just fine, so now I don't know. I don't excercise enough, and I'm excessively fond of ice cream and fast food cheeseburgers. I probably will have my first heart attack sometime in the next 20 years, but I plan to survive it. I'd prefer to die in some wildly improbable, cataclysmic event -- kidnapped by aliens; infected with Andromeda Strain; crushed by Godzilla. More likely, it will be a car accident. Let's say 77?
- How do you measure the passing of time in your own life?
I watch for the signs -- in both nature and culture -- for the cycle of seasonal change. The first lightning bug, the first frost. Dandelions poking up around Imbolc, ripe peaches around Lughnasadh. Orion lingering in the autumn morning sky. Graeter's Cherry Chip ice cream in February, Girl Scout Thin Mints in March. Soon the starlings will begin to practice their formations in the evening sky, and the new fall shows will air on TV. I look out into the near future for milestones, which speed up or slow down the passage of time, depending on how much I anticipate or dread them.
- What would constitute "the perfectly lived day" for you?
A day lived mindfully, open to what comes, delighting in it. Ideally, it would be a bright, cool day, maybe in the fall. A light hike in a wooded area would be nice, maybe with few others around. I would talk with friends and family, probably laugh a lot. We'd have a tasty lunch. (But Cat's idea of starring in a Broadway show and finishing the day off with fabulous, crazy monkey sex would be OK too). At night I would dream that I could breath underwater.
- If you could pick one age or one year that you could live over and over, which one would you pick? Why?
I had a friend who used to say with inappropriate irony, "It's true that I get better looking with each passing day." Me too: handsomer, smarter, wiser...more talented and fabulous as time marches on. (Humbler too). So I tend not to pine over the past; my best times have been the beginnings of something new. When I was fourteen, I promised myself that I would always remember and appreciate the complicated joy and pain of that transition from child into something else. My first year of college, my first year of grad school...all wonderful times. The early 90's were the best. I had found love, I was surrounded by smart friends. But still, I don't think I'd go back. I'd rather take what comes.
And Slaughterhouse-Five had a fairly profound effect on my worldview. I think moments in time are eternal, and our perception of "now" is an illusion. Like Billy Pilgrim, we are all unstuck in time, if only we have the presence of mind to notice it. Every day is Groundhog Day.
- If you knew you were going to die in a year, what would you do in your final days?
I expect "Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance," not necessarily in that order. I'd want to say goodbye. Or I think I would, until it became such a burden -- creating moments, bumming people out. I'd probably just get exhausted with it all. Then bitter about all the obligations a fore-knowledge of your own death imposes on you. I might undertake a project to hide little meaningful things everywhere, so that people would unexpectedly be reminded of me in future years.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Cat's "525,600 Minutes" Meme
Cat, contemplative with the start of a new school year, challenges her blog readers to answer these five questions: