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"I might as well settle in," Anna told me one fall day in 1993. We had both moved to New York along with about a quarter of our graduating class the year before. "I kept thinking I would start my life someday, and was living out of boxes, until I realized that I was living my life. This is my life!" So she decorated and made a home in her new railroad rental apartment in Chelsea.
I remember at the time wondering when it would feel like I was actually living my life instead of preparing for it. I'd had this idea in my head that the worst day to die was the day after graduating from college. All those years preparing, and the day you could start to do something, finito. That's the way I thought of it. And in 1993 it still felt to me like I hadn't started, hadn't found my groove.
It took me until I proposed to my wife in 2002 to actually feel like I was ready to have my life, and not until our daughter arrived in the fall of 05 that I actually started to believe I was living something that felt, to me, "real."
Getting to know our daughter has completely re-calibrated what "real" living feels like to me, however. Sharing my days with her feels completely real and fulfilling. To me a hug, or holding hands with her and my wife for a stroll after dinner is as "real" as I've ever felt doing anything.
And to me every day Catalina spends of her 2 year old self is immensely exciting, but is experientially, it seems to me, a full life, rather than a preparation for some other experience that will be, finally, "real." I find that now at 38 years old I relish things I don't know and learning, much more than things I know, or think I know. And Catalina spends pretty much every minute of her day learning and exploring in this perfect state of practicing.
That's why they say, I guess, that life is about the journey, not the destination. And in life, certainly, the destination is very gravely not a point to rush towards.