I soon determined in my life I didn’t like romantic movies. As “girl flicks”, they should by their DNA make me mellow, but the magic never work. I interrupt the progress each 10 minutes to criticize the characters, point a cheesy flirt line and complain about poisoned relationship foundations. Yet I had the opportunity to borrow DVD from a friend, and she recommended me some “good ones”. I ended up watching Remember me.
Not a movie I’ll remember, but something tickled : at the end of the movie, the hidden narrator conclude with a (poorly delivered) poetry about life and hopes, something translated as :
“This story shows you that we should all live to the fullest.”
Yeah, because the hero unexpectedly dies at the end. And all emotional from watching the movie, you’ll just nod. Yeah, so true, life is short and we should all enjoy life to the fullest…
I stood up and went in the kitchen for a bowl of cereals. I ate mechanically, with the remarquable gaze of a dead fish toward the wall and kept playing the discourse in my head. Something was bugging me, although I couldn’t identify it. Living to the fullest – Am I doing it? Am I missing the ride? Should I be doing something else?
Going side of the conjurer, I saw the holes in his sleeves, the second pocket in the suit, the cheap and worn-out handkerchief.
The live at its fullest changes constantly. The live at its fullest is not made to be lived, not invented to be durably enjoyed. The live at its fullest is an often invisible state, an evanescent matter, a land not to be walked on but a shore to be conquered. The live at its fullest is the Great Pacific garbage patch.
In the movie, the hero was a sloucher. He woke up in the morning all weird, nervous-smoking, he met a girl by coincidence, she just happened to appreciate him, he liked her too, he was still managing his grief over his brother death and had family issues, it started to get slightly better, his relationship went bad then got better.
So is this your model of LIVING TO THE FULLEST?
So he should make me envious of his FULLY LIVED EXISTENCE?
It is supposed to make me envious because he’s in the midst of change. And so many opportunities arise in times of change.
But we’re not always in the midst of change.
For data research experts, it is assumed that people are consistent. We visit the same websites, do the same actions, look for the same keywords. Big data experts spend their days drawing our patterns, and it’s super duper easy.
We can’t start blossoming love relationship every season (or we don’t want to!).
Willingness of others to engage in all kinds of relationships is, all in all, out of our own control.
Most of our joys are coincidences.
This year, all my memories start to look the same.
Just like the last 4 years, I’m with the same lovely boy.
Just like the last 3 years, I live in the same neighbourhood.
Just like the last 12 months, I’m in the same job.
Last St-Patrick’s Day, I drank a pint in a bar two blocks away from home. The previous year, I think I stayed at home. Or maybe I was in a bar too, I don’t remember.
Last Valentine’s Day, I ate in a restaurant. It wasn’t especially fun : sweetheart and I prefer to restaurants on this date. The previous year, we cooked a surf&turf menu at home, and it was good.
No, I can’t say anymore that last New Year Eve, I was on the rooftop of a cool building in Vienna, surrounded by thousands of fireworks. I was actually in a dimly lit car in my own neighbourhood, volunteering for a ride-home service.
There’s less and less landmarks. Frontiers are blending. I wouldn’t have much stuff to paste into a scrapbooking pad, if I was into it. And yet….
I have now what 90% of the world population endlessly hope for!
I have food in my cupboard, a house to live, a bed, some money, good security, a job and healthy conditions. Somehow, I feel I reached most of the statuses people wish for : single individuals look for love, students look for regular and good income, job researchers look for employment, new graduates forced to part-time work and loose temporary contracts look for 9 to 5. I have it all. But I still feel it isn’t enough. Not in my heart, but in monthly and yearly follow-ups.
I want to say : «Wow, thanks, that’s perfect for me!»
But I feel that, publicly, I surrender.
That I’m a sloucher, someone who lack ambition or courage, who abandon its potential. If I feel no loss in tucking in my travel projects in the usual 2-weeks summer holiday or delaying it to next year, then I’ surely AFRAID. Or DULL. Or CONSERVATIVE. If I accept the direct working 48 weeks per year at the same office, I’m missing L-I-F-E.
On the cover of a woman’s magazine : “Faithfulness in 2014”. I can guess what’s inside.
So, you’ve been with someone for the last years… Don’t you feel you’re missing something? Yeah, you come home and he/she is there, you repeat the usual questions and you follow up usual matters… You know his\her pet peeves, you discovered long ago your common interests and because you always have someone to take up in your arms, because you very rarely experiment conflicts or only on small readjustments, because you use the same tested and proofed methods to unwind from a bad day…it just gets very comfortable.
Voices shutter : Well, aren’t you missing, somewhere hidden, TRUE LOVE?
Aren’t you missing
an exciting life?
some hotter sex?
the spice, the unexpected, the adventure?
I go away. Don’t ask me those questions. You’re not helping me. You’re making me throw away what I cherish, and then you’ll say “BUT IT WAS YOUR CHOICE!”
So, I’m pushed to travel as the next level of my self-realization. Ideally long, light and alone, so I’ll have no drag to get into any kind of experience.
« The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
“Travel broadens the mind.”
“Do it before you have kids! Enjoy it while you’re still young!”
However, it doesn’t take long to realize travel, as advertised, would make me lose what I already love and enjoy. Asking for full freedom, I couldn’t have my boyfriend next to me. Looking for another destination after two weeks, I couldn’t have my fancy clothes to play dress up, my sewing machine to playfully repair garments or my fabrics scraps to invent stuffed toys. Always in transit, I couldn’t choose and display art and beautiful items in my surroundings.
And you know, my couple, my hobbies and the beauty around me make me happy – ALREADY.
Give me a day in Las Vegas and I will wish to leave the day after. Give me three weeks of vacations on Christmas and I’ll be excited to get back to my projects after two. Bring me to restaurants seven days in a row and I’ll dream of an homemade shepherd pie at home. I like to keep spices as spices.
I don’t need to flee comfort to enjoy it back home. Getting invited to push my limits do not inspire me to pursue my own life into action : it indeed pushes my limits, before I walked the line.
No, I don’t want to navigate Canada from coast to coast in a kayak with dehydrated food. Neither on a bike.
No, I don’t want to run a marathon.
No, I don’t want to travel alone in an unstable country or area.
The motto Live to the fullest is not made to inspire, help or guide us.
It is repeated to make us forever wish for more, not for our mere happiness, but to grow this constant desire toward the unattainable. And we often get so vulnerable doing so.
Things that makes me enthousiast are not appropriate replies to “What’s new?”. Things I’m satisfied with are not worth discussing, not with my family, my colleagues, probably only with my life partner.
I’m happy whenever filter coffee is on the menu, because I prefer it over espresso and lucky me, it’s cheaper!
I’m happy when I score reduces of 2 or 3 dollars on a single product at the supermarket.
I’m happy when I empty condiment pot in the fridge, spice reserve in the cupboard or make-up color, so I can buy fresher or different ones.
I’m happy when I see and can pet my friends’ cats.
I’m happy when a «could be thrown away but..?» item I kept in case reveals to be the perfect fit for a case of refurbishing.
I’m happy when someone take photographs for me or of me (or both).
I think I would like to learn to sing, to act, to speak another langage. Yes, I think that those are my “dreams”. But I’m in a hurry of nothing.
Looking back, I like to pet my back thinking that I obtained all satisfactories experiences by hard work. But honestly, they happened by coincidence. I swam in the currents and rarely fought waves. Life will bring soon enough cancer, unexpected death around me, so I think it’s legit I don’t look by myself for challenges. Good things happen naturally, too.
I would neither have lived better if, predicting my death on tomorrow, I would spend all my saving on lustful desires.
I came up to the point of admitting and accepting that my life won’t change much. I care about people and people care about me, but when we’ll all trepass, I won’t have any more impact. I won’t have found cures, I won’t be the Queen or the Princess of any art.
Maybe I’ll have written a book. But it probably won’t be reedited, and one day it’ll have reached its last reader. We all look for a kind of eternity, maybe posterity, and most of us won’t. I’m not that important and today I claim the right to refuse to work all my life for an inner incentive that I should grow but I assess as sterile.
Not only the motto Live to the fullest is toxic, but it is also deceitful and prone to make everyone unhappy.
Living life at the fullest not an invitation TO ENJOY IT, but a relentless nagging TO GET IT CHANGING.
You might not think of an airplane crash during a 1 or 2-hours flight, but when you’re flying across the ocean for 10 hours, the idea will certainly come. So when I flew to Poland few years ago, I started out of nowhere to worry about my possible death. Before my breathing would accelerate, before my anxiety would get untenable, I firmly sank in my seat and rationalized. A method I really like to tame a fear is to push it – what if your fear realized? And then, what would happen after? And after?
I though that I couldn’t choose a better moment to die.
My boyfriend was with me. I had no debt. I had no lag in my life : I did studies like I wanted to, I started my career few years before because I was eager to. I had some friends, but none depending on me : they all would recover after my demise.
My apartment was clean : I had sold or given most of my knicks-knacks. My boxes of personal belongings were all well packed and classified, fine-ready for my family to open and manage it. I even suscribed to a line of credit and had my first life insurance.
My death would even have been glamorous. Dead just about to start new challenges in an unknown country full of opportunities. People would morn my past existence with quotes like «She could have done so much if granted time». I was in the prime of my beauty – my family would have had plenty of magnificient pictures to chose from for the newspaper obituaries. The very real process of death would have been stressful, but only for minutes. Maybe I wouldn’t have suffered at all, clobbered by the impact or stunned by freezing water.
I snuggled to my lover and felt perfectly serene.
From the land, we all dreamed of wrapping ourselves in the looking so fluffy clouds. One day, you get on an airplane, and approaching their sky level, you hardly wait to be shrouded by those ultra thick cotton balls… Only particules of water land on the porthole. This vague fog blurs the view.
Photographer, retoucher and virtual MUA : Daniel Richard