Just Shelley

For Life

First published sometime in 1997, I believe, at the original YASD site.

Today, today, I have reconciled myself to dying. We all die, eventually. I will die … someday, hopefully far into the future. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I might as well live, and stop being afraid of the inevitability of dying. The funny thing about inevitabilities is that you can’t run from them, hide from them, or push them off. So ignore them, and move on.

Who is this person who’s crawled into my skin? I used to be such a gutsy person who didn’t back away from any challenge. Now I sit in a chair surfing the Net – living vicariously through a wire: a pseudo peeping tom on the world. When I’m not online, I sit in a pub or library or park, listening to other people’s lives. Excuse me, but whatever happened to going out and creating my own? Since when did I become a miser, holding on to each day like it was a bright and shiny copper penny that I couldn’t let go?

Life was meant to go by in a blaze of experiences and events and sharing and caring and things done and places visited. You spend each day freely and with abandon, and you know you’ve lived successfully when you reach the end of your time and realize that your life has passed swiftly, in a blur–a kaleidoscope of memories, rich and colorful and warm.

Today I put on music and I danced around my living room as I used to long ago, way back in a time when I wore flowers in my hair. I danced for the sheer joy of dancing and I connected with that long ago younger daughter that was me and for a moment I was in a time machine in my own mind – a time warp between then and now. I danced not for work and not for exercise and not for socialization and not because I ought to or had to, but for the joy of the act, the love of the music. I danced because I wanted to.

There should be one rule in your life, one absolute: no regrets. Whatever you do or don’t decide, do so with an understanding that you’ve made a choice and don’t look back with regrets. Look forward…always look forward.

Follow your instincts about what’s best and right for yourself. Don’t say, “If I do this, I may regret it later.” That’s not the way to live. You have to grab life, and its experiences, with both hands and hold on for all its worth. It’s a wild ride at times, and a scary one, but you’ll get to where you’re going in the end. You’ll get to where you should be.

For me, I find joy in my writing. But somehow, somewhere, I stopped writing for myself, and started writing for others. I didn’t write what I wanted to say, I wrote what others wanted to hear. That’s not life; that’s just going through the motions.

I once told someone:

I love to write. Writing to me is a shield when I’m hurt and a weapon
when I’m angry. It is friend and lover, and a thief of time. It exposes
me and hides me. It is there in the morning, and there in the evening. Of all the chaos of life, writing is my one constant.

When I’m hurt or I’m afraid of hurting, I write and with my writing
heal or am healed. One in the same.

Take a moment, put on some music, and dance around your living room or your bedroom, or go dance in the street if you want. Or play a guitar, or run through the park, or fly a kite. Or write. For the joy of it. For life.

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