Whenever my teenage self committed any sort of infraction from coming home late to getting upset over something trivial, my step-father would say “life is not a series of one act plays”. He thought this was one of his most clever lines as it squelched any typically “hysterical female” behavior while at the same time highlighting the utter unsuitability of my planned career choice. I didn’t love it as much as he. Never once did I think “wow, that’s really deeply profoundly true, I’d better change. Perhaps enroll in an accounting course.” It just irritated me. The line burrowed itself into my subconscious where it would pop out from time to time and remind me just how much I hated hearing it. Until…I had a moment of realization…it wasn’t true. Not even a tiny bit. Life IS a series of one act plays and it’s a magnificent thing.
when Spawn was born it seemed he did not sleep for the first three months of life. As soon as we would crawl into bed he’d wake up screaming and nothing would persuade him to go back to sleep. Many nights we were driven to desperation. Really… driven. We’d wrap him up, put him in his car seat and drive around the neighborhood until he finally slept. It was a miserable time, but eventually we all adjusted and Spawn started to sleep better . If it wasn’t for the entire night it was enough so that his parents could form a coherent sentence the next day. Now I can look at it and see that it was just one tiny act in a much larger story. It had a beginning and an end. The characters in it learned something, and moved on to another, happier phase. (Of course, now that’s he’s of age to drive himself around the neighborhood that brings a whole other kind of sleep deprivation.) Would looking at things this way have solved the problem at hand? Probably not. We’d still have been sleep impoverished zombies, but maybe zombies with a teeny bit more perspective.
Impermanence terrifies me. It feels sometimes that things change so swiftly that I have no control and I HATE that. Somehow, looking at each new day as my own personal one act play helps me to focus on what I can control and let’s me appreciate the things I am able to accomplish in that span of time. That’s the beauty of it, the acts can be short or long, and sometimes you can experience several different acts at once, but at the end of them all you can look back and see where you’ve triumphed and where you’ve fallen down, and use it get you through whatever comes next. And no matter what, every act has something to celebrate. Never forget to celebrate!