I start my new job on Monday. In a few days, the structure of my life is going to change dramatically. I'll be getting up at 6:15, showering, picking out a cute outfit or whatever makes me look the thinnest, packing a lunch, and cruising down the freeway along with the other commuters, hoping to be situated at my desk across town by 8:00.
That means no more staying up until 2 a.m writing blog posts or catching up on blog reading or Facebook while Mike works on his software application just a few feet away from me. Mike's kids, on the days we have them, will probably still be in bed when I leave in the morning, so there'll be no more sitting at the kitchen table together while they eat their cereal and tell me their plans for the day ahead.
Most of the time, though, I won't be home at all. I'll be flying to destinations not yet identified, securing a rental car, checking into my room at the resort, unpacking my bags (and hoping I remembered everything I'll need), and then preparing for the week of work ahead of me.
It's sure going to be different.
I've had five glorious weeks off since my last gig ended and I have savored every. single. minute. Because Mike works at home and makes his own schedule, we've been able to enjoy copious quality time together. I love being with this man, no matter what we do. I love walking through our beautiful neighborhood together or scouring the stores for post-Halloween discounts on decorations for next year; I even love rummaging through the boxes of his crap we've yet to unpack from the garage. Whatever we do together, we have fun and find something to laugh about.
Yesterday was an exceptionally great day. In the morning I returned phone calls, caught up on email and sorted through paper work while Mike pulled weeds out front and cleaned up the pool. I know that doesn't exactly sound exceptional, but it was good to get stuff done. Plus I had a fun conversation with my first ex, the father of my children. I don't talk to him often, but I do enjoy catching up with him now and then.
Later in the afternoon, Mike and I decided to go upstairs and take a little siesta. Between dozing off now and then, we lay in bed talking and laughing and enjoying each others skin and admiring the blue sky and the palm trees out our windows. We marveled at how lucky we are to be able to laze around like that in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon.
At around 4:00 we came downstairs to the kitchen. Scanning through Facebook on my iPhone, I came across Mona Simpson's poignant eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs. After reading the first couple of paragraphs to myself, I realized this was something Mike would be interested in so I read it aloud, from the beginning. About halfway through I got choked up and could no longer continue. Mike took my phone and read the rest to me, his voice remaining steady even at the end as he read Jobs' final words: "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow."
"I can't talk about this right now," Mike said as he returned my phone. Neither could I. He retreated to our office and I went back upstairs to shower and get ready for our 6:00 dinner engagement.
Back in September I met a neat 80-year-old guy at Starbucks who'd taken a liking to me. I saw Al again last week and invited him to come to see my set at the Las Vegas Comedy Show last Saturday night. Al took me up on my offer and I had passes waiting for him and his wife, Pat, and another couple, Jeanette and Dick, at the box office. Afterward Mike and I chatted with the four of them a bit before heading home. On Monday, Al called to invite us to join them for dinner at the steakhouse in the South Point, where they're able to get comps. Sweet of him.
On our way over, Mike and I were able to share our thoughts about Mona Simpson's words without tearing up. I hope you take time to read it; it's a powerful piece, an eloquent expression of how precious and fragile life is.
Dinner was lovely. The food was delicious and the company was even better. Al and Pat have been married 55 years; I think Jeanette and Dick are at number 48. They're all fun as hell and aren't above drinkin' and swearin'--two of my favorite pastimes. The four of them have lived together in another part of our development for the past 11 years, and not because of economic reasons. Pat and Dick are first cousins and have been close all their lives. It's clear they all truly love being together and they're having a ball. At one point Jeanette turned to me and said, "I don't know what we'll do when one of us goes."
It was 10:00 by the time we left the restaurant. Driving home, Mike and I reflected on our amazing day. Nothing extraordinary happened; Beverly D'Angelo didn't pop by and we didn't win the Powerball or anything. But we both felt such a sense of appreciation for being able to putter around in the morning, lie in each others arms all afternoon, share a beautiful eulogy, and then enjoy the company of four special people whom we'd never have the pleasure to know had I not smiled at an old man in the coffee shop.
Everything changes on Monday. Mike and I won't have the kind of time together like we've had for the past five weeks. I won't see his kids as much. The new structure will bring new opportunities; I'll make friends at work and will meet all sorts of characters in my travels. Still, I hate to see this time end.
It has to, though. Nothing can last forever; otherwise, we wouldn't appreciate it. Whether it's Christmas Day, time off between jobs, or life itself... eventually it will end. And that's why it's so important to love every minute.