Years and years and years ago, I dated a man who would constantly tell me that what I couldn’t cure, I must endure. He would follow that wisdom with the solemn avowal that what didn’t kill me would make me stronger.
I’d throw a straw at him and tell him to stop being so cheerful.
As I drove south on HIghway 5 last night, the setting sun to my right, I thought about that man. I remembered our times together, but I also contemplated the decades after we parted. I heard of him; his happy marriage, his beloved child, his tragic death. We did not see each other but I kept track of him. I had a sense of what his life brought to him; where his days took him; what he made of the chances which came his way.
He never knew that I took his platitudes to heart. I live my life in pithy sayings. I put my best foot forward. I grin and bear it. I strive to let a smile be my umbrella. I wove that wonderful lot of melodic advice together. I spun it into silk and from it, I fabricated a shawl which I wrap around my shoulders as I stand and watch the evening stars.
In a few days, I will take myself to the sea. I will gaze on my beloved Pacific, letting her breezes wash over me. As the sun sets, I will cloak myself in the fabric of my life and settle into a chair by the cliffs. I will turn 63 as the sun rises, as the voice of the ocean calls, as the birds rise from her rolling waves. I will feel stronger. I will feel as though I have, after all, endured.
It’s the thirtieth day of the fifty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.