May 28, 2003
Random Acts of Journaling poses the question:
“What’s the one thing you can’t be without, and why?”
The smartass in me says, “Air, because I’ll die if I can’t breathe.” The practical part of me chimes in, “But you need water, too, and food. And shelter from the cold so you don’t freeze to death, and protection from the sun so you don’t bake to death. There’s no one thing you can’t be without; there’s a whole list of things.” The more creative part of me says, “I’m sure that’s not what the question meant; hush up and let the reflective part of us consider this.”
In the word association game, things = stuff to me. Yet I could live without my stuff.
I have a lot of it, and losing it would leave a big space in my life, but there’s nothing I own that I absolutely, positively could not be without. I’d miss some of the things that couldn’t be replaced, like photo albums and special quilts I’ve made. I’d survive, though.
I’ve had a quilt gone missing before, a small piece I loaned for display at a vendor booth at a show, so I have some idea of how it would feel, though in that case, I still have a faint hope that it’ll turn up someday, that it will pass into the hands of someone who will use my name on the label to look me up and reunite me with it, so maybe I don’t have a clue how I’d feel if my things were really and truly gone for good. Still, I’m sure I’d cope, one way or another. It’s just stuff. Yes, I’m a bit of a packrat, surrounding myself with material things, but they’re not essential to my continued existence.
It’s tempting to answer with people, specifically a person, Mr. Karen. After twenty-plus years having him in my life, it’s hard to imagine being without him. We’re not together all the time, certainly; we take trips on our own and such, but he’s never far from my thoughts. Yet if had to be without him, I could survive. Much as I love him and as much as we share, I’d go on. It wouldn’t be easy; it would hurt more than I can fathom, but I’d get through it. For one thing, he appreciates strong, independent women, and I wouldn’t want him checking in on me from the afterlife and finding I had completely crumbled when left on my own. Sure, I’d be a mess for a while, but I’d manage.
What would keep me going is believing that I’d be able to create a new life for myself. That’s what I can’t live without: hope. If I can see even a glimmer of light in the future, I can get through whatever darkness surrounds me today. Hope keeps me going, hope motivates me to work through the difficulties between where I am now and where I want to be.
One year ago, I’d seen a couple movies.