I used to be more involved in social media. But things change and we get complacent, our priorities shift. It happens to everyone. We see our friends and family less and we tend to become a little more selfish and pull into our own little cocoons. This is normal. But it isn’t a way to live your life. At least not in the long term.
I had an interesting weekend a few weeks ago. My wife was away on business and my daughter and I were going to have a daddy/daughter weekend. We had all kinds of things planned, visit my nephew, go to a movie then the science centre, I actually had an invitation to go skiing as well. It was gonna be great. But…I got sick, flu/chest cold sick, and because I have asthma it hit my lungs like a mucus filled freight train. It was not pretty. All I could do that Saturday was sit on the couch and curse my aching body between bone rattling coughing fits and trips to the bathroom. My daughter like any post-millennial…while she felt bad that I was sick…grasped the opportunity to go for the record in screen time. At the time I could care less if she watched two hours of YouTube followed by two hours of playing Super Smash Bros., all my energy was used up making sure she was fed. Thank goodness the neighbours got her out of the house for some outdoor time or I’m sure she would have went a little stir crazy.
I went to bed that night feeling the worst I had felt in a long time. As I lay in bed, my chest gurgling with phlegm, I could hear my age echoing back to me like the ghost of Christmas gross. I realized that I was no longer ten-feet tall and bullet proof. I wasn’t 21 years old anymore, what is the point where a cold becomes pneumonia, then worse? I was getting older and it scared me. Not that I was going to die, but there was a little girl in the other room that needed me, loved me. Let’s not be overly dramatic here. It was a cold, a chest cold at that, by Monday I was back at work. But that’s not the point, the point is that Saturday I had cancelled my plans with friends and family. I holed myself up in my loft feeling sorry for myself. Not only was I sick but I was depressed and feeling guilty for making my daughters weekend just as shitty as mine. So when I drifted off to a fitful sleep, I had a fever dream of rooms. I know it sounds weird, but stick with me. I’m still kind of hazy as to what it all means, but the gist of it was, where and how we spend our time.
I dreamt about all of the interesting times in my life, from bad to good to indifferent. My daughters birth, epic parties, birthdays, holidays, life changing days. It was all a blur, but one thing I noticed was the rooms. I could, with complete accuracy in the dream and in real life describe the rooms all these events took place in. That struck me as a weird thing. Then the dream took a darker turn. I thought about people that I had lost. I also remembered these rooms, but I noticed the pattern of the rooms as they got sick. They had started off in the house, then the hospital, then the hospice, then the funeral home…then in the ground in a box or in the living room in a jar. I became hyper aware in my dream that I was in my own room sleeping and that I was contemplating my own mortality. I never think of death, but I’m older and it’s going to happen, it happens to everyone…eventually.
So waking up the next morning I went to the pharmacy and loaded up on medication. I took that day to get better. The next weekend I made up for that horrible ordeal and took my daughter to the trampoline park with family. We also went to the Lego Batman movie and pigged out on popcorn and pop then played in the arcade until our brains twitched with visions of pixels and pinball machines.
But that dream still stuck with me. It made me realize that we only have so many weekends, so many rooms to spend your time in before you croak, buy the farm, follow the light, kick the bucket…you get the idea (check out more death metaphors from around the world here). I choose to consciously decide on what rooms I would spend my time in, and with who. Of course I will make that journey through the series of rooms at the end of my days but until then I’m going to make them my rooms, my time and my memories. If I’m gonna go, I’m going to have some good stories to tell. So make room for your family, make room for your friends, because there is only so much time left.