I’m deep into the second book in the Call of Crows series by Shelley Laurenston, The Undoing. This is the story of Jace, an aptly named berserker Crow; she gets insanely angry and bad shit happens. To other people. Jace had a hard life and a bad death at the hands of her husband. When she is reborn as a Crow she lets rage be her guide (the mantra of the Crows, who are the harbingers of death for the Norse gods). She’s down with that. Jace lets her red rage shine out of her eyes and scare the ever-living fuck out of her targets. Jace’s after life is sweet. Sure, there are challenges—this is a romance after all and we can’t have smooth sailing to the inevitable HEA—but she’s got her groove on as a Crow, she’s living a life inspired by her goddess. It’s a hella good time.
I’m happy to say that I can relate (because, no, it’s not just the bad stuff that speaks to me). Life is good. Recently, I was telling my friend about my intense satisfaction with my work, my family, and my progress toward my personal intellectual and fitness goals. I’m generally feeling warmly toward the world. “Ride the wave,” replied my friend, “ride it for as long as you can.”
Excellent advice from a wonderful friend. Because part of riding the wave is my enduring appreciation of the intimate relationships in my life, and the extraordinary characters of my friends and (immediate) family. I am lucky and blessed. I have amazing people with whom to share this wave.
My family went to see Hamilton last week. Epic. The best part was seeing my sons’ excitement. about going to the theater. Pretty cool. A couple of days later one man-boy said, “None of my friends asked me about the show. It was kind of a bummer, as I wanted to share it with them.” He gets it. Another friend recently shared some good news about her health. She had a health scare and only told me when the news was good. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked, because she hadn’t asked me to share her fear; she knows I would have been there for her, pulling her up out of the rabbit hole of panic. “I didn’t want to tell you because that made it more real and I was afraid of a bad outcome,” she responded. I understood. Sharing our realities grounds them in the here and now.
I know that this joyous wave won’t last; such is the nature of waves. In the past, the transient nature of my contentedness would sour the whole experience for me. I look back on such twisted thinking and realize that my outlook was desperately immature. To let the momentary nature of an experience discount its value is like saying we can’t enjoy life because it inexorably ends in death. What a waste.
I say that, but such was my outlook for longer than I care to admit. If I couldn’t have it all, I didn’t want any. If it wasn’t perfect (and it never was), I wanted to fling it all away. I diminished too many experiences because they represented a fad and not a trend. And I’m not sure what flipped that switch, but I’m grateful for it. I’m happy now.
Why is life so fine right now? Lots of reasons. No reason at all. All of the above. Why should I question it? It is. It won’t last. Such is the nature of the wave in truth. Maybe not so much in my beloved fantasy, but my books don’t always reflect reality except in analogical ways. And that’s okay. I can still learn and enjoy and experience my beloved fantasy books as an essential part of my ability to ride the wave while it lasts.
It’s a hell of a wave I’m riding. Exhilarating, terrifying, delicious and uncomfortable. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And like Jace, sharing the ride—with my friends and with all of you —makes it that much better.