life moves pretty fast.

i’m not exactly sure where to start today. i knew i wanted to write, but i don’t really have a lot in my head, or enough in my head that i’m paying attention to. which probably means i’m trying to push something (feelings) aside that i don’t want to feel. why does your body do that? i mean, i guess it’s protection and survival. but like – i’ve done enough therapy and grief work to know that i want to feel the feelings. i’m ok to feel those feelings. so body? i’d like to feel those feelings now – i don’t need you to protect me. but i think that’s exactly what it is. grief. ugh.

i went to the most incredible immersive play on wednesday and i’m pretty sure that was the catalyst that kicked up those feelings. especially given that i’m about a week out from the 5 year anniversary of my dad’s death. it was called “the Nest.” i read about it on a forum i’m a member of on facebook about immersive theatre. the concept is pretty simple – a woman named Josie who was alive in the 60s has passed, and she had no next of kin. so the owner of the storage unit called you to come clear it out. part immersive play, part video game, part escape room (but you don’t have to escape) – you enter into Josie’s world through her storage unit, and armed only with a flashlight and a cassette player, you rifle through her things, playing tapes she recorded of herself along the way, and solve puzzles to try and figure out what happened to her. the weirdest part? her full name was Josephine Carroll. they don’t change the last name to fit whoever made the reservations – it just so happened to be the characters name. odd, and yet amazing considering the timing.

so i went with my friend chelsea, and we had 60 mins to get through everything. we spent most of the hour being nervous – though i knew no one was going to pop out at you, we did keep getting telephone calls to try and keep us on track which scared the living bejesus out of both of us. and when we solved certain puzzles, sometimes a door would automatically unlock and reveal the next step, which was both startling and exciting. but the part that really got me, that really kicked up my grief was the post-show experience. we were asked to write a memory that felt like it was going to fade. and we had examples of other people’s memories – “the last christmas i believed in santa,” “the smell of my grandmothers perfume while we were making cookies,” “my dad teaching me how to ride a bicycle.” given the timing, thinking back to those memories is so bittersweet because they’re so lovely and yet so painful in the context of loss. my memory that i wrote was – looking at the stars from the ledge outside my bedroom on a warm summer night. when my dad removed the screen and we crawled out in our pajamas. and in that moment we felt infinite.” life seemed so simple then.

the other part of grief, the part that is so hard to bear, is the sadness that i feel about my own life. am i really truly living or enjoying it, or am i just quickly trying to get through whatever period i’m at to get to the next thing? i saw this in context of how i approached this immersive experience. i spent the majority of the time anxious, trying to make sure we were doing everything right to make sure we really maximized our time and were able to get through all of what we were supposed to see. and i wasn’t able to pay attention to some of the story because i was busy looking for stuff. and once it was over, i felt like i wanted to do it over again to take it all in. now that i knew what was coming, i could relax and enjoy the show. but – unfortunately, that’s not how the play – or life – works. i have no idea what expect. so how can i slow down and enjoy where i’m at today without worrying about the future? how can i stop worrying that i’m doing everything right, and just accept that in the doing, i am living? i have got to learn to relax, enjoy the ride, and live in the present moment. because there is no guarantee of tomorrow. and today is the best we got. so just for today, can i be present and participate in my own life without worrying about what’s to come?

“life moves pretty fast. if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller