I like to think I know what to expect each day.
Mornings begin with my Batman animated series ring tone alarm, or perhaps “Someday” by The Strokes. David rolls over to put the aforementioned alarm on snooze, then promptly returns to his fetal position while I slowly start rubbing the grit from my eyes.
I wake up bit by bit. Perhaps I roll around and stretch, the activities of the day already running laps in my mind. I start imagining what I might wear, and how long my shower should be. When five minutes have passed and the alarm starts singing once again, David shuts it off permanently, then kisses me good morning and asks how many cups of coffee I’d like.
I vary between four and six cups from day to day.
A couple more minutes of stretching and I throw myself into the shower: two-in-one shampoo and conditioner, apricot face scrub, and body wash. I don’t often dilly-dally; I very rarely get up in the morning with enough time for a long shower and the other morning rituals, let alone breakfast.
Then it’s scooting out the door in the nick of time to catch BART or the bus for whatever awaits me that day. Whether it is work in downtown SF, or school, I am usually more than prepared for the day. Mentally, that is.
However, there is still plenty of room for spontaneity: I’m supposed to go to class, but eh, who cares if I somehow end up on a park swing for an hour instead?
I am really settling into this simple life. Once in a while I’ll explore a neighborhood I’ve never been to, or I’ll drop my prior responsibilities for the day in favor of just shooting the breeze with my roommate or a random friend. And at least for this week, I am content with this.
Even though I am renting, it still feels wonderful to have a place of my own. Having David and the others around isn’t so horrible either; the apartment still feels like my space, especially when I’m alone and reading out on the balcony, or sitting cross-legged and playing video games on Ricky’s massive TV.
The pleasure I derive from such unpretentious activities reinforces this idea that’s been gnawing at my insides: What if *this* is all I want from life right now?
Is there anything terribly wrong with that? It isn’t as if I’d be twiddling my thumbs all day long; I love to read. To be honest, I think I’ve learned more from the random books I pick up everywhere than from the school I am paying thousands of dollars to attend. My curiosity is often piqued wherever I go, and I almost always seek to fulfill it.
I have someone I love very much, I have great friends, and enough money for food, shelter and random toys. If I was a bit less lazy, I’d explore more of the vibrant city I live in.
I would love to own a home. Every inch of wall space would be converted into bookcases and bookshelves. The notion of simply working hard enough to eventually have my own property is ridiculously appealing; then no matter where Life and I may go, I will always have one place in the world to call my own.
This idea still makes me feel remarkably guilty. A woman with my upbringing is supposed to want more for her life. She’s supposed to do something with it. Frankly, a lack of ambition is considered a very serious character flaw.
But I must admit, I’ve never been driven by the same anxiety to succeed that my parents had, or that they wanted to instill in me. I don’t possess the American neurosis that is the downfall of so many people my age. Some time in high school, I realized a large portion of my motivation only stemmed from my desire to please the grown-ups in my life. For this Life to be more fulfilling, I had to figure out what I wanted for myself.
The answer is still ridiculously murky, but I don’t mind. I’ll never truly know anyhow. But that is part of the journey. And it is a long one yet.
More than ever, it is incredibly important to be honest with myself. As I’ve mentioned several times before, I don’t relish the mere possibility of not living my life for myself. I would argue that the best gift my dad will ever give me is the ability to think freely and not be bogged down by the worries that he had while growing up. Even though I may not be accomplishing everything he dreamed for me, I hope he will one day realize that he has allowed me to seek happiness in a manner that was virtually impossible for him.
He’ll never know how grateful I am.