So many things seem impossible until you’ve done them.
When you’re three: Discovering the source of that train whistle you can hear from the front porch of your house. Pooping in a toilet. Learning what letter comes after D, or what number comes after 3. Sitting very still.
When you’re five: Climbing down off the stage mid-spelling bee when you’ve spelled the word “road” correctly but what they’ve actually asked you to spell is “row.” Finding your own personal mother on the sidewalk after school is let out. Standing in a very straight line when you are very tired. Learning that adults are sometimes mean and thoughtless and don't know the answers. Saying sorry when you are not sorry at all.
When you’re ten: Walking to school on your own. Packing a lunch that your friends won’t laugh at. Applying makeup so that your mother won’t notice but your classmates will. Lip gloss. Brand names. Waking up to bad dreams in the dark of your bedroom and not calling out for someone to comfort you. The high dive.
When you’re fifteen: French kissing. Algebra. Not hating your parents. Riding the city bus. Smoking a cigarette. Surviving rejection in all its myriad forms. Looking at your own naked body in the mirror.
When you’re eighteen: Leaving home. Finding a real job. Getting the electricity turned back on after you forgot to pay the bill. Parallel parking. Loving someone besides yourself. Learning what it means to be alone.
When you’re twenty-five: Traveling by yourself. Not apologizing. Remembering who you are. Slapping the stranger in the railway station who grabs your ass and calls you “candy.” Feeling proud of the sting in your palm.
When you’re thirty-two: Reading all the books you should have read but haven’t. Fucking up your very own children. Not losing your mind. Kicking an addiction, or beginning one. Loving your body, even a little.
When you’re forty: Surviving all the cancers – your parents, your grandparents, your best friend’s, your own. Enduring monotony. Sitting and watching the way the light filters through the curtains. Being very, very still. Going on.
Admitting you were wrong, maybe about everything.