a day shy of turning twenty-three my mother gave me the best advice of my life.
i was just out of college, the month was october, the weather was heaven here in new york--or just outside of it, in montclair, nj--to be exact--something tells me this retelling needs some exactness--a level of precision.
it was night and i was sitting on my mother's bed and we were talking about a boy. and i use that word deliberately--at just-shy-of-twenty-three the male in question was still very much just-a-boy, as i was just-a-girl.
this boy and i had been talking and messaging and beginning something-or-other and it was ever so thrilling--as it is when you find some version of the right person at the right time and there is even a hint of that nameless affection that cannot be pinpointed or dissected or explained away.
but we had hit some sort of wall. and there had been an exchange of words that wasn't terribly clear or terribly kind.
and it was nearly my birthday and i hadn't heard from him.
so my mom listened and then looked right at me and asked: do you want to call him?
and i just sort of stared at her for a moment, thought about it, took a breath, and revelation: you know, i don't. and that was that. and i've never looked back. i've never wished that i did call or did try harder or done any one thing differently in regards to that moment in time.
that question: do you want to call him? was so simple and so easy and so very much the point.
none of the well, i've called twice now or i've not waited a sufficient amount of time since getting his last text--no rules or regulations or impossible to follow tenants as handed down by the dating-gods (also known as other-girls-flailing-in-much-the-same-fashion). just a simple: what do you want?
as i'm getting older i'm coming to realize the simplest advice is usually the best. the path of least resistance, the most efficient--go figure!
want to act well? put the brilliant playwright's words into space. just speak the language. that's it.
want to lose weight/be healthy? stop with the counting and measuring and time-tables. eat actual food and move your body when you can.
want kindness in your life? show kindness to others.
want to talk to the guy? take a chance and pick up the damn phone.
of course, there are always exceptions. sometimes it's not so easy. sometimes it takes a little more work. sometimes you can't just pick up the phone because there's been too much time and too much heartache and something in your gut is telling you that you must wait.
but maybe sometimes it's as easy as doing what you want. following that gut feeling that says yes or no--that gut instinct so unrelated to pride and pomp.
because at least then you're owning you're own experience. at least then you make the rules and it's easier to live with the good or the bad that eventually follows. because you did what was right for you. and that's no small feat.