When sex is really great, it's likely that both parties end up sweaty and slick with a variety of fluids. The kids who have the best time at the park come home with dirt on their clothes and smiles on their faces. When I'm on a deadline for a project that's about to make me a lot of money, my desk is covered with reference materials and notes. Artists get paint and clay on their clothes and body as they create beautiful masterpieces.
Life is messy. Real living is messy. Sucking the marrow out of life, as Thoreau puts it, is messy.
While we all need to make sense out of our worlds, some people sacrifice the best life has to offer just to have some order and predictability. I've seen the homes of some families with children that were so clean there was no evidence that a child lived there. I knew a teacher once who assigned all students numbers and the bulletin board was divided up with a square for each number; that's how much room was allowed for each student to show off his best work. The rest of the room was decorated perfectly by the teacher. I've known men with gorgeous pickup trucks who wouldn't take them anywhere beyond a few miles surrounding their homes, let alone off road, because they didn't want to get them dirty or scratched.
Is that living? Yes, but it sure as hell isn't how I want to live and I'm pretty sure we weren't intended to live that way.
In a recent comment, someone said that I don't know what I'm doing out there, or something like that. On one level, that's absolutely right. But on another level, I know exactly what I'm doing. I'm living! And life is messy.
You may want to believe that making a decision and sticking to it forever, no matter what, is the right way. Maybe sometimes it is, but sometimes it's not. People change, conditions change.
The more black and white you think life is, the less real living you're doing. Not only is life not black and white, but it's full of shades of grey and messy blotches of color.
I've made many mistakes. I keep making mistakes. But I've also had a lot of incredible experiences and I've met some amazing people. I'm better for each one of those experiences and for knowing each of those people. My life is not ordinary.
And guess what? My husband knew exactly who he was marrying. So did I. And we are both very happy together, in spite of all the messiness.
There are moments when I wish my life were different, that I were different. Then I remember some of the bright spots in my life - meeting Seattle Guy and our visit to the park, spending the night with JJ, sharing my deepest secrets with DauntlessD, laughing with Cara, cycling with Steve, developing a a loving and cherished friendship with a Phillies fan.... I could go on and on and I haven't even mentioned my family yet. My kids! Surfing (or attempting to surf), mountain climbing, bike riding, walking on a glacier, volunteering in a homeless shelter, reading while cuddling in a bean bag chair, taking off with no plan just to see what we could discover.... And my husband. Traveling the world together, making love on the banks of a secluded river in broad daylight, holding our children together seconds after they were born, taking our children to see where we grew up, threesomes when we were newly married, the way he looks at me when he tells me he loves me every single day, and that he loves me exactly as I am... Seriously, the highlight reel doesn't end there, and it doesn't end with today.
But almost all of those things I mentioned were messy. They required letting go of control, accepting that the outcome could be totally unexpected, taking a risk - and choosing to do them anyway.
There are many things I don't know, and I certainly don't know what the future holds for me, but I know this - If I were to die today (or soon), I would have no regrets about how I lived. Some of my choices? Sure, but as I said, life is messy.
I like it that way.