UNFAITHFUL WIFE: If there is one thing I’ve learned on this trip it’s that I like having a schedule. Not a minute-by-minute breakdown of the day to come. Not even an hourly breakdown. That would only set me up for failure. I just like to have an idea of what I’ll be doing on any given day. Ridicule my lack of spontaneity, call me a stick in the mud, but I function better within the confines of a schedule.
Beyond that, I appreciate a little timeline with my scheduling. Tell me we’re spending two weeks in Paris and I will book transportation, find a charming place to stay, and whip up a schedule in no time at all. But tell me we have two to four months to explore Europe and suddenly I’m paralyzed by choice. I can’t bring myself to pin down an itinerary for fear of missing out on something better. Fortunately, my husband suffers no such hesitations otherwise we might still be stranded somewhere in the middle east.
This realization, fermented by an abundance of time on my hands, has led me to daydream about having a timeline of my life. Basically, I wish I knew when I was going to die. Not because I want to die. Not even because I wish to postpone dying. I’d just like to make a rough schedule. I’d like to know if it’s worthwhile for me to seriously pursue a successful career or if I won’t be around long enough to reap the rewards. Conversely, will focusing on today’s goals leave me high and dry in old age? It would be convenient to know what sort of scope I’m working with.
But, of course, that’s not how life works. You just do what you can and hope for the best. Sometimes you fuck things up royally. You cheat on your spouse. You neglect your family. Some days you just need a break. You sit on the couch in your pajamas eating Swiss Cake Rolls. At least, that’s how life has worked out for me. Most days I’m just trying to make sure I’m headed generally in the right direction, and I remind myself of the knowledge I do have too work with.
I know, for example, roughly how much daylight there will be on any given day. I know that beyond the age of 65, should I make it that far, my arteries will most likely begin to thicken and harden. I know that ten years from now the probability of my dying will be three times greater than it was ten years ago. And I know that my husband will still love me.
I know people will say that I shouldn’t think about the future. Live for today, they say, but I don’t think that’s best. I spent over a year living for today while I cheated on my husband. I reveled in today without considering tomorrow. No, I think I must live for tomorrow. I can appreciate today, smell a rose, watch the sunset, reflect on how marvelous it is that my heart has made another uninterrupted 100,000 beats and continues steadily, but I need to make sure that I am headed towards tomorrow.