Cat added to Mission sidewalk graffiti

Exigency: “Live everyday as if it were your last.”

My friend left a comment on my last post about my 2011 in review, to which I replied, “It has been an amazing year, one in which I decided to try to live everyday as if it were my last day on earth (and the fact that I really don’t know when my days in NYC will end helped lend to that scenario).”

I was given the gift of limited time last year–not limited days of my life, but limited days in my setting of NYC–a microcosm of urgent ground, in which I woke up every morning wondering what I could squeeze out of that day. That energy came with me even as I spent half the year in California outside of NYC.

And it has made all the difference.

I wonder what would happen if I gave myself the impression of limited days in which I could write? Something more than a deadline–? And in what way could I create that exigency?

Also–I am more than aware that 2011 was an agonizing and horrifying and awful year for many of you. For me, the “worst year of my life by a mile” was 2007. It ousted any of the years previous I’d spent depressed or dismayed or discouraged or broke.

But every year since then, I/we know that statistically speaking, nothing can be as bad as 2007. And that too, has made all the difference–to know where your bottom is, and to know you’ve survived that bottom (whether graciously or not, because in the end all that matter is that you survived), to have been broken and healed, and to know you’ve learned lessons, and to know you can make it through anything, go forward.

So for those of you who have had an awful 2011, I give you that hope. And now it’s 2012–and I hope 2011, now in the past, leaves you in the present with valuable lessons and knowledge and resilience.

And come to think of it, my awful year gave me urgency, too. There’s nothing like a bad year to tell you what it is you really really want out of life. And you’ll spend subsequent years reaching for it.

I hope in 2012 you reach for it–and get it.


Filed under Life, Novel, Revision, The Personal, Writing

3 responses to “Exigency

  1. Zack Phillips

    I think I currently am living my life as if it were my last day. I will certainly leave a lot undone when I finally pass. Life rarely offers real finality, until it ends. In my marginal victories and small setbacks I am doing what I ultimately will be remembered for. I hope the sum of these tiny ripples in the current of the Universe will be enough to remember once I no longer can throw pebbles in to the water.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Andrew W.

    Wow, it’s been four and a half years since the awful parts of my awful 2007? (Still nothing so classy as a company that lays off an employee while her husband is in the middle of chemo).

    It’s funny how the interpretation of “live every day like it was your last” can be different. A lot of people take it to mean take advantage of everything you can. Visit a friend. Go to a concert. Stay up all night. I take it to mean to get a toasted Italian sub from Arlington House of pizza and eating it on my way to my in-laws’ place in East Hampton where, six hours later, I would take a nap. If I could live every day like that “last day”, that would work out just fine.

  3. this really speaks to me. the part about comparing now to low points. i had a really rough year+ back in 08/09, and i think it’s partially because of that experience that everything else feels doable. i wake up pretty optimistic and excited about life, even if things aren’t the best they could be. because so far they’re not worse than that rough year. (knock on wood) at the same time, i’m so AWARE of this and i feel lucky so often, even when nothing AMAZING has necessarily happened.

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