When I was young and I watched a movie or a TV show, I often wished my life was more exciting, like the lives of the people in the story. I not-so-secretly longed for adventure. Mysteries to be solved, strange experiences to be had, pain to be endured and ultimately transformed into strength!
I admired the warrior’s commitment to a life bereft of comfort in exchange for extreme capability. I lusted after drama and high emotion and a life driven by some overriding passion or purpose. I chafed at the boundaries of my average existence, my normal relationships, as I waited for the moment when I could fall to my knees and scream “Nooooooo!” at the sky, in response to the event that would shape the course of my life. I exaggerate, of course, but only a bit. I was an excitable child.
I’m not a child anymore. I don’t know if that’s the reason I feel differently about life now, but I suspect it has something to do with it. I realize some people never stop chasing physical and emotional excitement and, conversely, there must be many children who wish for the kind of stability and peace I enjoyed when I was young. Nevertheless, for me, with age has come an appreciation of the normal.
When I watch movies and TV shows now, my reaction is more often than not, “Thank god I don’t have to deal with that!” When I go to work at my office, no one is trying to kill me because I know too much. When I come home in the evening, I have no terrible secret to hide from my loving husband. And he is exactly what he seems to be. Not an alien in disguise using me as a cover for his experiments on humanity. Not a demon or an angel ready to enlist me in the cosmic war in which we will both die gruesomely meaningful deaths. Our family dramas don’t involve drug cartels, blood feuds, or zombies. Our dreams don’t involve unlimited power or world domination (well, maybe my husband’s do).
I dream of the weekend afternoons I get to spend by the pool at our apartment complex, lazing in the sunshine. I dream of the occasional cinnamon dolce latte that replaces my morning cup of decaf. I dream of getting a new couch so that when my husband and I sit close and watch everyone else’s drama, we get proper lumbar support.
It’s obvious that when the apocalypse comes, I will be one of the weak people. I will have no spin kicks with which to defend myself. I will have only the magic of my words and my understanding to protect me. I will be meat for the beast. (Unless I can engage him in conversation.) And I am fine with that. If my death at monstrous hands becomes imminent, I hope I can meet it in a lounge chair, sipping on a gin martini.
Little pink petals rain down from the tree outside my office window. My husband and I are going to the Indian buffet for lunch. I close my eyes and give myself over to the delicate rhythm of predictability. This is it. Right here. The bliss of normal.