I recently had a short vacation by the ocean. We stayed in a gorgeous resort (see above); totally unaffordable for me; except that my aunt lives there, and let us stay for tenth the price they actually charge guests. So nice!
But it was just a one-week long holiday. After the fourth day I started feeling some anxiety, even depression. Soon we were going to have to leave and go back to our routine; which I have to say is not bad at all, it is simply the routine. I would think of some things we could do, like perhaps go walking the hills or visit a natural reserve. But there was noise in my head… it is almost over, you have just little time. The feeling of an imminent end seemed to paralyze me. I remember having a similar feeling on Sunday evenings when I was in college. At that time I would experience a feeling of void, forlornness. But why is it so? The time is there; the opportunity to do something is there. You would think that you must take advantage of every minute left. One could say that in the last hours one should be brave and formidable. And yet, sadness fills the heart. A former boss used to say one should live life like a soldier: just as if today was the last day of life. But if the soldier knew today was the day of his death, he might spend his day crying. He just does not know and expects many new days to come. He fights for his life!
I guess my ex-boss meant that knowing that your end is coming requires you to be the best you can. And yet, how can you be brave and outstanding when you are overcome by a feeling of emptiness? The end is a boundary. It is about leaving a familiar space. It is a flame dying away. I can’t think of action and progress but withering and falling. And what about using time wisely? A mother looks at her daughter sleeping eleven hours and spending a long time texting everyday and desperately begs her not to waste her time: this could be the last day of your life! The girl does not have forever. But even using time wisely requires the hope that we have forever. Without the motivation of a future to be lived how can one be active and productive? We always have this motivation because we have the belief (or the hope?) that we have forever. But we know we don’t have forever. The time to create a story is limited.
Everyday we lay a brick and everyday we expect to have one more chance at building. We might be able to finish or we might not, but we wish time be on our side. It is not that we should live like a soldier but that we live like a soldier: always hoping that today is not the last one. There is no way around it: the end is sad and the feeling can make us freeze. But is that really important? In the end, it is the end. It is short. It is a moment. There are many moments before that one; the moments of my life. They should matter more. I do not want to come to the end and regret, like in Jorge Luis Borges poem, not climbing more mountains, not being more relaxed, not traveling lightly, not changing routines. Fortunately I don’t have to regret not having been able to overcome the near-the-end anxiety feeling I told you about. I managed to go out and enjoy the last days of my vacation.
I got sick though. I got upset stomach from eating at a food place at some beach where there is no potable water or electricity. Food was delicious but boy was I sick!
Oh well, think of the poem…all is well.