Before. The rhythm of my week began with a heavy Monday and marched along beige-grey cubicles to Friday afternoon, before releasing me into the weekend. There were things on the side, like color, laughter, yoga, writing, teaching, and being outdoors. For a while there was also a man, and talk of how things would be in the future. Together.
After. There was learning to be single again. There was my final team meeting, and clearing out my office. There was a long flight and time away on an island. There were entire days infused with color, laughter, writing, rest and being outside. There were new people. There was more yoga, even on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9AM, wondering who those other people were, and why weren’t they at work? There was a new rhythm to my week, with a pickup note on Sunday mornings and the downbeat falling on the evenings, when I teach.
I have come to think of it as my Before Life and my After Life.
I think we have many layers of life in this way. Our living is not linear. It’s more like the anatomy book with clear pages and on each page is layered a different system. First the skin, then muscle, then nerves, then organs, then bones. The metaphor isn’t perfect, as the pages of the book do not show the relationships of the systems. But still, this sense that we live in many, many layers, each marked by the specific gravity of certain events.
Before the accident, and after. Before the marriage, and after. Before the divorce, and after. Before the diagnosis, and after. Before the child, and after. Before the leap, and after.
Sometimes you choose it. Sometimes you don’t.
Because I chose this leap, some people are curious about what it’s like on this side. They don’t understand how it works, and they wonder if I’m ok. Yet they also say I seem happier, which is curious because I thought I was happy before. I forget there are different flavors of happy.
I’m in a middle space now. There’s more to come, another shift or pivot that I can sense. Like catching the scent of eucalyptus and ocean and earth when nearing Santa Cruz. Which I guess is to say that this After Life isn’t the end. It’s just another beginning. Another layer revealing the rich anatomy of this life.
Be curious. Savor all of it.