Once in a while I wake to the blare of my brain making a list of things that I wish I could do. I stretch my cramped arms, shift off of my wonky hip, and watch the light rise around me. As the shapes reveal themselves to be comforting familiar objects, my blood starts to stir and my brain keeps on conjugating.
I wish I could make the bed without losing my footing and doing a full face-plant on the mattress.
I wish I could remember each of my siblings’ birthdays without reciting the entire list in birth order.
I wish that I could say which plant is actually a philodendron; and while I’m at it, I wish I could spell that word without a dictionary.
I wish that I could eat more than five kinds of food without my tricky system rebelling.
I wish that I knew how to apply make-up. Not that I would, really, but once in a while it might be fun. Not that I go anywhere. Or that anyone looks at me. But still.
I wish that I could stick to a budget.
I wish that I could whistle.
I wish that I could see my mother’s face one more time. I wish that I could convince my son that I’m proud of him. I wish that I could stop my brother’s trigger finger. I wish that I had said no to so many events that I could never recount them all. I wish that I had said yes to one or two or maybe a half dozen opportunities, people, places, songs. I wish that I had officially changed my first name. I wish that I had worn braces. I wish that I had gotten braces for my son. I wish that I knew the names of all the presidents in their order of election. I wish that I were an inch shorter or three inches taller. I wish that I had a mouth which knew how to smile.
The morning has brought the fullest of California light into my tiny house. I’ve gotten my first robo-call about health insurance. I’ve eaten breakfast. The minutes tick by and my brain keeps making its list. I think about a friend who once told me that I needed gentler self-talk. I haven’t spoken with her since before last year’s election; I just couldn’t deal with her insistence that Trump was the messiah. But she might have been right about me and my judgmental brain. Everybody’s right about some thing.
It’s the thirteenth day of the eighty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.