“I love me some me.”
As I do every mid-October, for two days last week I gathered with UU colleagues in the Cedar Hill Study Group. The setting where we meet on Cape Cod is beautiful, with views of marsh and the ocean; the accommodations are very basic but comfortable; and the relaxed time with colleagues is immeasurable.
This time, our text for the study portion of our gathering was Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library — a novel that led to meaningful discussions about regrets and choices and fate, and also about mental health and suicidality and what is a “good life”.
Each of us wrote and shared a personal reflection in response to the book’s themes. In mine, I examined some specific moments in my 27-year relationship with Graham, asking “What if…?” — i.e., how might our relationship have unfolded differently if some specific things hadn’t happened exactly as they did? I closed with these general musings:
I don’t really believe that a single such moment makes or breaks an entire relationship, nor that a willful outside force intervened to make sure I was home to accept a phone call or to make sure I opened that piece of mail. I don’t believe in fate—not that Graham and I were destined to be together, not that any person has a specific purpose in this life, and not that there is a divinely ordained Meaning of Life, either. There is no one secret to happiness or fulfillment, no one marker of success, no singly definitive right or wrong or good or bad decision.
The best we can do is make thoughtful choices with the information we have at the time, recognizing that no particular outcome is guaranteed and that our choices are tied up with a lot of other factors and other people’s choices. And recognizing that we have agency and some power in cultivating and shaping our experience of the life we have.
I believe that life simply is—that every choice we make, and every moment of chance, adds texture to a life; and that, like the library teaches Nora, every moment is the beginning of infinite future possibilities.
It’s a faith statement, really—to say that the future holds infinite possibilities. I give my heart to that belief, and I aim to use my power and agency to shape that future in ways that are loving and just. And that was my biggest personal takeaway from my own reflections on the book we read.
But the words that keep coming to mind in the week since I returned home are my colleague’s words: I love me some me. Words declared many decades into their life—a life characterized by an abundance of hardship and blessing, by sexism and love, by racism and empowerment. Words that are their own sort of commitment in a life of infinite possibility—that they love this life, their life, exactly as it has unfolded and is unfolding. I love me some me.
What infinity of possibilities lie ahead in your life? Whatever they are—and however you choose among them—I hope you are able to declare, “I love me some me.”