Lately I wake up in the middle of the night with a collumn of heat radiating up my spine, sweat puddling on my chest, at the small of my back, lathering my forehead and the nape of my neck. The sheets are soaked, my pillow is damp, and I must toss blankets aside, find a dry towel to spread underneath me. It doesn't happen every night, and, so far, it's never happened during the day (thank goodness). But the night sweats strike often enough that I can't ignore it.
I'm thirty-seven. Aren't I too young for this?
While driving the other day, I searched the radio dial for anything that wasn't a commercial, and found only one thing: a country song that repeats the line, "Live like you were dying." Chalk it up to peri-menopausal mood swings (or pre-menstrual mood swings - yes, once again, honeymoon not withstanding, I'm not pregnant), but this is where my mind went: I am dying. We all are. Even if I ignore all the physical, body-change evidence, it's hard to discount the fact that, sooner or later, everyone else dies. Why should I be any different?
What would I do if death were imminent?
Two people come to mind: my ex-husband, who keeps his distance, as do I, and my ex-best friend, who dropped out of my life after fifteen years, claiming disinterest in the direction my life was going (re-marriage, parenthood), and one-sided-relationship burnout. Granted, I was not the best ever friend or partner to either of these people. Obviously. But... (oh, there are a million buts!) The point is, I thought of them because I feel unresolved about them both, and I realized, if death were imminent, I would do something about it.
It seems like I should follow this with something brave and inspiring, a plan of action, a firm resolution.
Here's my cop-out thought: Good thing death isn't imminent.
Of course, one never knows.
Another thing I might decide to do, if I were to die soon, would be to let myself off the hook of all the shoulds crowding my brain. No plans of action, no firm resolutions. Instead: pleasure and appreciation of the incomplete, inconvenient, imperfect present.
In fact, maybe I'll do that anyway.