They say life’s a bitch and then you die, and they may not be all wrong on that point.
But in between the bitch and the death there’s a whole lot of living going on. And not all of the stuff that makes living worthwhile is headline-worthy.
I used to build my life around all the And Then‘s:
go to school And Then summer break. graduate And Then college. graduate again And Then find a job. write a poem And Then get published. meet a boy And Then go steady. recover from breakup And Then find new boy. read great book And Then buy the sequel. go on vacation And Then plan the next trip.
You get the gist.
Always something new, something more, something better just around the corner, And Then the next corner, And Then the one just past that.
Perhaps it’s age or a small measure of experience or some bit of unwarranted wisdom, but somewhere along the way from one corner to the other, I’ve discovered that the really good bits of living, the moments that keep you afloat when the floods come, are the ones that come just before and between the And Then‘s.
Not just looking forward to reading a good book, but really enjoying the one you’re reading right now. Not just getting published, but actually writing, the minute decisions you make as you set the words down on the page, cross them out, and start again. Not just going on vacation, but all the small delicious bits of planning that come before — buying the guidebook, exploring a map, learning new Italian phrases.
Life happens in the moments in between. In the waiting. In the details. In the insignificant moments. During breakfast. At bedtime. Or when you open your eyes two minutes before your alarm goes off.
And Then isn’t the point. It’s a distraction. When you’re always peering around the corner, looking through the next doorway, you’re too impatient to appreciate the small things unfolding all around you.
So that’s my platitude for today. Maybe I’ll think about it a bit longer And Then I can write about it a bit more eloquently.
-Lo, who has no idea what’s coming next.