I’ve noticed this thing that’s been happening to me a lot of late. I’ve only gradually become aware of what a phenomenon it is, a gift I never appreciated until now. It happened to me again this morning.
I woke up alive.
I’ve been waking up alive my entire life, of course, but never woke to what a miracle it is until recently.
I don’t know why the entire world isn’t in a mad fever of celebration every single day, when we all wake up alive.
Granted, some days I squander my bounty of time on earth by finding reasons to justify 10 a.m. cocktail hours and cancelling social plans made mere hours before, because just because.
But, lately I’ve been trying to remind myself that every day I wake up alive, means I have won the life lottery. Every night I go to sleep knowing that there is no guarantee I will wake up alive. So when I do, it’s an automatic get out of jail free card, pass go, spend that 200 dollars, frig the diet, drink the wine, eat the cake (cause I don’t want to waste my life lottery calculating the caloric content of anything) eat chicken parmesan with spaghetti, drink more wine, go for a walk later, and if I can’t go for a walk I ask someone to take me for a drive and then I make them go for a walk. No matter what I did the day before….unless maybe I count that little murder thing…even then…no matter what, I woke up alive. I can be whoever the frig I want and no one can say anything. Even if they do, I tell them to mind their own beeswax. I can burn bridges, unburn bridges, my life lottery drive- through window is closed to assholes. I go to get a coffee and a breakfast sandwich even though I just had my luxurious 30 minute lunch break, and I may fritter away hours, and then I am going to Italy for the weekend, in my head. Even while I am sitting here working, I am really in Italy, in my head. I give myself permission to be embarrassing, trip up, fall down, get up, get down with my own self. I wear all the sparkles to the grocery store.
Every time you wake up alive you get to start over, your entire DNA is reset, I don’t know if that’s right but it sounds right, your soul DNA is reset. Even if there is someone lying next to you in the bed whimpering “But you promised to stay with me forever” do not die nice.
I’m going to die happy if it kills me.
So many people, as in Victorian times, wake up dead, in small boxes, with no benefit of a little bell and a snifter of brandy beside them. Or worse, they wake up having already been cremated.
It’s possible that once in a fit of pique I asked the Google Goddesses if it was possible to lose ten pounds overnight in order to fit into a particular dress in order to go to a party in order to accidentally on purpose run into the person who cracked my heart in thrice in order to reduce that person to a pile of regretful rubble, thereby eliciting many pleas (please please please) from that person to reconcile, pleas which would fall on my deaf ears for at least eighteen hours before I succumbed into a torrentially torrid reunion.
Facebook put a thing in my feed that warns me against empty calories. My calories aren’t empty cause I fill them up with wine. Plus, stop sending me videos on how to make Brussel Sprout Chips. The wine makes them soggy. Brussel Sprouts are not chips, they are failed cabbages.
It does not go unnoticed that we each have a Facebook feed, rather like we used to refer to the cattle feed.
Do not make the mistake of early onset death. Don’t think you are waking up alive when you are really waking up dead. You are not dead until the doorknob test comes in, and even then, don’t believe it.
Remember, there is just too much time set aside in life for being dead and not enough for living.
ODE TO A BRUSSEL SPROUT
O tender curling inward
Guarding close your heart
Holding dear your secret
O tender curling inward
So close in intention to a rose
But not a rose
Or even an artichoke.
I debuted this new material at a recent benefit performance for the Jennifer A. Cutler Foundation. You can find out more about them at: www.jenniferacutler.ca.
Ode to a Brussel Sprout is a variation on Ode to a Cabbage, as it appears in my book “This is the Cat.”
And, you will find my plays and books now on sale in my on-line shoppe (I like the ‘e’ on the end) plus more about more things on the go. Thanks so much for supporting my work!
Sharon Stetson says
My new mantra! Love your perspective; as ever, words to live by. Thanks ❤
Berni Stapleton says
Thank you, Sharon. I am also greatly inspired by your posts, photographs and the love you send out to those who are lucky enough to be in your sphere. xoxo