Life is comically hard. There is rarely a moment free from agony. A roommate overdoses. A friend's high functioning alcoholism conforms to debilitating. It's hard to find a job that pays well. Hard to find a job without sexual harassment. Hard to find a job that's meaningful. Hard to find a job that doesn't give you blisters. If you're attractive you're relentlessly sexualized. If you're unattractive you're lonely. And sometimes the really lucky are both. If you want to take the traditional route to earn a comfortable living you have to spend a good portion of your life in debt to pay for the tuition. If you want to skip that and go straight to the workforce you're destined for strip malls and minimum wage. The third option I believe is the no sleep, Adderall, late night, early morning, constant sacrifice blade of discipline. The illusion and worship of meritocracy. The oceans are oily. The ice caps are melting. The tigers are dead. Hormone maladies. Homelessness. The bills don't stop during slow season. Jesus and Uncle Sam are constantly fucking. There are no rules or warnings.
There is camping, and airports, and road trips, and birthdays, and bonfires, and hotel bars, and tennis courts, and tears, and late-night beaches, and early morning morning afters, and sweetheart sweetheart, and peach trees, and perfume, and snowmen, and love letters, and sea salt, and chlorine and gardens, and picnics, and parties, and poolside, and promises, and parked cars. And sex so romantic you swear all your cells are cotton candy. There's Italy in the spring Cats biting the ends of boxes Ice cold water in the middle of the night. “Have a good day!” from a stranger. When the pillows and the blankets feel like cinnamon and warm sugar in the middle of a harsh winter. Coffee brewing at night. (Especially because conversations need to be had.) Hummingbirds. Flowers.
Sitting across from someone you love at a restaurant. Someone buying you cough drops, tissues, tea, medicine, crackers, and 7up when you're sick. Sincere compliments. Rain when you’ve really missed the sound of it. You need to see so many more gardens. And you need to carve so many more pumpkins. So many more kittens are going to purr when you hold them. The people who volunteer at animal shelters. Someone offering to cook for you. If you give certain parrots or birds colorful strips of paper they will put them into their feathers for decoration because they like to feel pretty too. Old book shops with the books colorful dusty spines stacked floor to ceiling and smelling of preloved inky paper.
Sparklers and streamers. Butterflies. The absolute bliss and breathtaking quality of first snows. How all the intricacies of the barren branches catch with fluff. The sides of roofs heavy with the sparkle of icicles. Candles burned down to the end. The whole room smelling like flavored beeswax and the room hazed with a soft fire glow. The rush of endorphins from productivity. Your favorite thing about your favorite person.
Seaglass. Dancing. Marijuana. Music shows. Music festivals. Concerts in bars. Concerts in stadiums. Poetry readings at coffee shops. Blue skies. Violet skies. Amber gold skies drunk with day glow. Yellow-blue skies fading to foggy green in the middle. Cotton candy skies. Strawberry vanilla skies in the morning. Perfume, cologne. Stained glass. Chandeliers. Nostalgia. The smell of bacon in the morning. Christmas time. Conversations that are so fluid and cohesive you excitedly jump from subject to subject. When you’re drunk with a group of friends and everyone declares their undying platonic love. People who give you nicknames.
The beach whose waves kiss the shore just for you. The mountains whose peaks tickle the stratosphere just for you. The skyscrapers that scrape the sky just for you. The wild grassy plains that grow flowers just for you. Hot baths. Alcohol. Halloween. Jesus. Ladybugs. Romance. Willow trees. Cherries. Raspberries. Bananas. Pumpkins. Blackberries. The scent when you first peel an orange. Grapefruits with sugar. Strawberries. The first bite of a fresh peach. Lemons. Apricots. Music. The romance of eloping. The raw hope of teenage newlyweds. Wedding rings. Weddings dresses. Tulle. Lace. Silk. The expression and explosion of the height of love. Museums. Libraries. The scent and warmth of fresh clothes right out of the dryer. Cayenne pepper.
Oriental rugs. Birthday cards. (Especially the ones with heart-felt, hand-written notes made just for you.) Pinecones. Butter cookies. Paint. Naps in the sun. Campfires. Cat sniffles. You won’t be able to kiss the hot tears that gently stream down their face when something is wrong or someone dies. You need to be able to do that.
Fourth of July fireworks. The specific shine of their colors. The specific flow of their arches. Movie theatre popcorn. Successful first dates that make your heart hurt with happiness. The specific shade of green leaves gets when sunlight strikes them. Vacations. Family. Stars. Love letters. Medicine. Showers and sex after a long day at work. Chinese food and favorite movies after a long day at work. Cuddling your pet and curling up with a book after a long day at work. Valentine’s Day. The successful ones you’ll have. The ones gooey with the red syrup of romance. And the gold glimmers of dopamine.
Gift getting. Gift giving. New clothes. Old clothes that smell like home. Home. Kisses. Parties. Confidence that isn’t heavy just shiny. Sunsets and sunrises. Half conscious cuddling.
You still have parts of yourself you need to discover. You still have people you need to meet. You still have accomplishments that need to be had. You have so many books that need to be read, that need to absorb and evolve the special place that is your mind.
Autumn leaves. The satisfying crunch they leave under your footsteps. The cinnamon lullabies of fall’s warm tones. The first of the spring flowers. How determined they are to breathe life and breathe beauty into the former dormant Earth.
The kindness of strangers. I used to have panic attacks in public and so many people would be cordial and concerned —even give me hugs. I once had to bike to pick up my medication. I was nervous; I hate bikes. I almost got hit by a car, entirely my fault. And the woman behind the wheel came out, checked up on me, said she was sorry, asked if I was okay, told me to be careful, offered to buy me water. Strangers will give you cigarettes or tampons if you need them. People used to give me twenty-dollar bills during my childhood lemonade stands.