A few days ago I began answering 28 "powerful questions for a happy life." I answered three. Look, answering powerful questions should not be rushed. Put some time into it! Some thought, some effort, some run-on sentences! And that's what I did. I did all of those things and now I am back to prudently answer three more deeply, deeply powerful questions.
4. How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
Twelve. Well, maybe not 12, although one of my BFFs is 12! She is so great. I connect with her better than many people who are my own age... My own, old age of 31. Thirty-one and a half. I do not feel thirty-one and a half. But how is one supposed to feel at that age? Maternal? Flirty? Oozing with confidence? I suppose in tiny ways I feel maternal except for when I have to change a shitty green diaper. Flirty? Not so much. Oozing with confidence? Excuse me while I guffaw for 15 straight minutes. I do, however, feel remarkably not-in-my-20s. I do not feel like partying or listening to breakup songs or being in indie rock bands. I do not want to stay up past 11pm. If I drink, I only want, like, two drinks max or else I will be a zombie the next day. I read more Kingsolver, less Kerouac. In other words, I have slowed down and mostly on purpose. I'm not really answering the question, am I? I guess in many ways I feel like I am close to 80, but in other ways I still feel like I am 16. I still feel like I am "figuring out who I am," which might be a Borderline Personality Disorder thing or perhaps just a human thing. Sometimes I wish I could still go through "phases" without seeming ridiculous and stunted. I feel the pressure to "act my age" and "settle down." But what is that age? And what does settling down entail? And why should I give in to any outside pressure? I try to answer one question and I end up asking a thousand more.
5. What one piece of advice would you offer a newborn child?
I can't say it better than Kurt Vonnegut, so I will just copy/paste his words: “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies-'God damn it, you've got to be kind.'"
6. What is the one job/cause/activity that could get you out of bed happily for the rest of your life? Are you doing it now?
To answer the second question, no. The first question... THAT WILL TAKE A LOT OF SOUL SEARCHING. But if I answer quickly without overthinking, I would say that the one job/cause/activity that could get my beautiful ass out of bed in the AM would be something to do with the environment. Nature, people. NATURE IS NOT JUST MY HOME, IT IS MY SOUL. If I worked for a nonprofit dedicated to preserving this damn planet, I would be totes chill with that. Or if I worked for the National Park Service. Or if I was a nature writer. Heeeey... Maybe I should become my generation's Mary Oliver? John Muir? ED ABBEY, dammit. I say "damn" and "dammit" a lot, side note. You already knew that, though. Back to the job/cause/activity... I would be satisfied working with those who suffer from eating disorders/body image issues. Whether that's through counseling, writing, or both. Should I write a book of nature essays and then follow it up with a memoir of eating disorders? Will that make my life complete? Might as well give it a shot.
Phew. I am so glad I finished answering those three powerful questions. I joke that they are powerful, but turns out my joke is not a joke. They really did make me think more than I thought I would. I didn't think I would think, in other words. But I did, dammit. I did.