Sunday, February 7, 2010

This is it

Tell me, when you were young (a teenager, or thereabouts) did you have a moment of revelation? A moment when you suddenly awoke to the mind-blowing fact that 'this is it'?

Perhaps I was a very dozy teenager. Perhaps this is something that everyone else appreciates
from the moment they are self-aware. Maybe I was backward. But I'll never forget that moment. It was one of those experiences (and you don't get many in a lifetime) when everything freezes and the picture stays imprinted on your memory, complete with all its vivid detail and impact, as though it happened yesterday.

I was walking down the stairs when, suddenly, without warning, it hit me.

This life . . . my life . . . wasn't a dress rehearsal. I wasn't marking time in the dressing-room, waiting for some momentous event . . . practising for what lay ahead . . . preparing for a great day in the future. There was no 'other' . . . no alternative . . . no playwright working on an improved version in the wings . . . I was centre stage, caught in the full glare of the spot-light . . . this was it!

Ridiculous as it sounds, telling you about it all these years later, I was shocked . . . shaken to the core. I wasn't ready for this . . . I needed time to consider . . . if this was all there was, well, I had to take it more seriously.

With all the implications rushing through my mind, I hurried downstairs to tell my mother. Did she know?

I'm not sure whether she grasped what I was babbling about.
"This is it . . . !" I declared earnestly.
"Yes, darling . . . " was mother's calm response, "are you ready to go out?"

What revitalised this distant memory? It's the excellent, thought-provoking book that I'm reading at the moment, 'Defy Gravity' by Caroline Myss. She tells a similar story, only in her case it was the impact of the phrase, 'This day will never come again'.

Do you see what I'm getting at?
Not only is this 'it', but it's this precise moment - the moment when I'm writing and you're reading - that's 'it'.
Someone once said: 'the past is history, the future's a mystery, all we have is the present'.
It's a wonderful thought, the weight of the past and the weight of the future both drop away. Surely no phrase was better designed to lighten the mind?

So, please, if you ever catch me waxing lyrical over fictional future plans, or growing nostalgic over carefully-edited memories . . . well, you know what to say to revive my teenage moment of revelation . . .

'This is it!'