Life is hard.
It’s hard for the wealthy and the poor.
It’s hard for the young and the old.
It’s hard for the country folk and the urban dwellers.
It’s hard for the healthy and the terminally ill.
It’s hard for the simple livers and the livers of complex lives.
Life is hard for all of us.
Today, I left my house with nothing but a pair of shorts I found in the ally.
I ran free like a deer on the cliffs.
I swam free like a fish in the ocean.
I hopped from cliff to cliff like a fox.
I played in the kelp forests like an otter.
I thought like a human.
I ran barefooted and bare-chested to the cliffs, leapt arms wide open into the ocean without a pause, and swam into the deep blue unknown. I ran from beach to beach, swimming at each one and running freely among the sun-soaked humans.
Free, free, free. I held my arms out and soared through the sky like a bird as I ran on the cliff edges. My legs held me to the ground because I am not a bird. I am a man, but inside I soared like a bird. I soaked in the sun. The saltwater cleansed my body. The earth toughened up my calloused feet.
When I’d gone as far as I cared to go, I stood on the cliffs alone. Alone, as I’d chosen to be. I wanted to sit but I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts. Movement keeps me at ease.
The great blue ocean lay in front of me with no end in sight. Just as no end is in sight for my life, my year, my month, my week, or my day. I don’t really know what is to come and that stirs me up inside.
On my long journey across the United States I had an end in sight, a goal in sight, and I was on a mission. I’m still on a mission, but it is less cut and dry. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I wake up tomorrow. That is liberating but it is hard.
I walked home with a quivering chin and tears on the edge of my eyes. Happy to be in this paradise I call home but deeply stirred up inside.
I am home now. I have been thrown back into a life that I had become unfamiliar with over the last four months. I am back in my apartment. I have stuff again. I have dozens of shirts in my closet to choose from. I have pots and pans and all sorts of utensils. I’m among friends that will still physically be there tomorrow and the next day. I am home but I don’t feel like I am home.
This is a familiar place to me but I don’t feel familiar to it. I am anxious and I feel disoriented, but I am in love with my city and I am fortunate to be here. Do I run into the unknown? Do I find someone to hold me close? What do I do?
Life is hard. No matter how simple you make it. No matter how fun you make it. No matter how much you dance. No matter how much you smile. No matter how many friends you have. Life will always be hard.
So what do we do? Just what do we do?
Well, we keep on living.
How will I keep on living?
I’ll keep on smiling.
I’ll keep on making other people happy.
I’ll keep on doing my best to be my best.
I’ll keep living a life I can be proud of.
I’ll keep treating the earth with the utmost respect.
I’ll keep on turning strangers into friends.
I’ll keep on loving and being a friend to many.
I’ll keep on learning and I’ll keep on teaching.
I’ll keep on remembering that to have true happiness I must have true sadness. Remembering that, I will be happy to be sad.
Life is always going to be hard but I’m going to embrace it and I’m going to live it.