I was having breakfast with a girlfriend the other day, one whom I have haven’t seen in months. We took turns giving updates and I ended mine by saying, “Yeah, so I feel really . . . privileged.” The word came out after a pause of nose wrinkling hesitation. I couldn’t think of another way to put it. Privileged. Weird. My friend responded, “You are.”
Then she went on, “We are. This is fucking America.”
Right. She’s right. And I get it. For years I’ve been on the Let’s-not-take-the-fact-that-we-are-Beneficiaries-of-Empire-for-granted-Bandwagon. But she knows that what I was talking about was different.
She knows I’m speaking from this unusual pocket of time when I’m in between jobs and not totally sweating finding the next one. It’s that I’ve got this sweetly generous partner telling me to relax and enjoy my days while he goes off to work. To pay our rent.
I’m new at being taken care of this way. It’s not like I have kids (or even a puppy) to rationalize staying home. And the thing is, this is temporary. I will need to go back to work–preferably sooner than later.
In the meantime, it’s amazing how easy it is to avoid feeling truly free. My list of things to do is jam packed. JAMPACKED! I see now that that constant feeling of never having enough time that I used to attribute to my job is just a part of who I am. Lucky me.
Last week, I pulled out a half used box of hanukkah candles from the closet. I decided I might as well burn them since an incomplete set is of no use for the holiday. I thought it’d be interesting to use one as a meditation timer. So I contrived a makeshift candleholder out of a wine glass and some tin foil.
I lit the wick and closed my eyes. Inhaled, exhaled, sat in the space between the words of my thoughts. I didn’t make it past my first restless impulses; not an inch of wax melted before I was on my feet blowing out the candle. Looked at the clock. 8 minutes. I nearly rushed to put a check mark next to “Meditate” on my list of things to do. Next?
Such an odd position to be in. Ready, set, go: get enlightened. No? Okay – have fun. Go on, have fun. Now. Do it.