In The Expanse After Me | 5.2.21

The Sunday Edition

I’ve been thinking about mortality a lot lately, and I’m not entirely sure why. Such a strange year it’s been, a year of death, a year of the fear of that death, but oddly not my own, but that of those I love. I’ve been thinking about what it is to carve out our space in this place, what it is to make the very most of such a tiny blip on the timeline of all things. Cosmically speaking, if we live to be 100 years old, we’re here for about .000002% of the this planet’s age, close enough to call it zero, really, close enough to call it zero. In this nearly zero, all the people we will love, all the people we will lose, all the hopes, fears, dreams, all the heartbreak and all the triumph, all crushed down and compacted and strung together in one long slideshow of memory. How we will this slideshow is the story of our life, our time wandering this spinning ball of fire and water, and I’ve been thinking so much on what we assign value to, what we assign worth to, what we worry about when we lay our heads down on our pillows each night.

Somewhere along the way, we got it wrong, and I believe this. Somewhere, careers and finances and the endless accumulation of material goods became paramount. Somewhere on that .000002% timeline, we decided that the first portion of our lives will be in school, the second in some job that we spend almost all of our time doing, the third act too old, too frail, too tired from the first two to do much of anything at all. I’ve been lost in my own mind thinking these thoughts, wondering of these routines we just follow and so rarely break out of, and I have been thinking about the impact when we actually do break free. We, if we are lucky, have a handful of trips or moments or vacations or memories in our lifetimes, ones that truly stand out and shock us back to how we should be feeling all the time. I wonder, daily, why it’s not the opposite of this, I wonder how we could make it so.

I don’t know where you’re at, you reading this scattered somewhere like wildflower seeds after a strong wind, and I do not know what you feel about the life you’re living. I hope that you’re happy in it, I hope that it brings you more joy than ache, I hope you believe fully in the journey you’re on. If not, I hope even stronger that you’ll think with me, you’ll dive headfirst into the murky waters of introspection, and I hope you’ll rise soaking wet, courageous, and willing to swim to deeper seas. We forget that we’re in charge of the life we lead, that we can slow the ride down and change its course at any point. This is no rollercoaster, though it often seems it, this is a trackless wander through a magic theme park, and we get to decide where we go. We get to decide when to feel the thrill of uncertainty, when to sit back and do nothing but eat cotton candy and breathe. I hope you know this, wherever you are, and I hope if you forget, you’ll come knocking on my door to remind you.

Would you miss me then,

in the expanse after me,

the light when I go?

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson


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