I want to live 1000 lives. One lifetime simply isn’t enough.
It doesn’t seem possible that roughly [hopefully] 60 years from now I’ll be wrapping up a life that has allowed me to live out each one of my contradicting roles and personalities to its fullest, if at all.
How can one lifetime be long enough to accommodate every aspect of my consciousness, to zoom in on each desire, every interest? How can I appreciate the small and wonderful parts of a daily, mindful existence—hours spent reading in bed, coffee in hand; long walks across foreign beaches, toes in the sand—when I keep returning to thoughts of another life?
There are so many things I want to do... so many places I want to see... roles I want to fill... passions I want to satisfy.
Time hardly permits me to spend any given day how I’d really like to. Some days, more than others, the second hand seems to circulate a little quicker than normal. The skies darken sooner, and the goodnight kiss lands on my lips almost as if no time at all has passed since the last one.
I see myself as a mother. I’m sitting on a blanket under a blossom tree, watching a tiny person wobble away from me. It’s summertime, and the heavy urban heat is only slightly lifted by a light breeze.
Other times, I’m a traveler, my youth behind me as I conquer the Far East. (Basic Japanese came easily to my linguist’s tongue, though Mandarin is harder.) Being alone—moving, arriving, and leaving alone—is somehow not only okay, but preferable. I’ve seen six of the Seven Wonders of the World, and traveled across every ocean. (The Atlantic’s still my favorite.)
Some days, I’m a retired writer, who was fortunate enough to live comfortably, with a steady flow of work. My love for old things led me to invest full-time in my collecting hobby, so I own a small shop of knick-knacks and curiosities that I’ve amassed over the years. I specialize in vintage coffee devices and receptacles, with a focus on functionality and style.
I’m also an environmental pioneer, fighting to halt deforestation and preserve ancient tribal communities. I’m an essayist, who has lent her voice to the feminist cause, offering a new and radical perspective.
I’m an award-winning landscape artist, the proprietor of a hospice for old cats; a record-breaking rower, crossing swathes of water solo; a blogging sensation building an empire on clicks and views and subs….
Perhaps society is to blame for my urge to live so many different lives. They told me I could be anything I wanted to be.
They told me I could have it all, that there are no limits to what I could become. Then they vilified aging, selling every conceivable cream and procedure to make the years go by slower. To make life beautiful for longer.
In the 60 or so years that I [hope to] have left, there’s no way I can be all these things...not fully, at least. There’d be no time to become the seasoned traveler, the contented mother, the recognised essayist.... Not very well, at least.
Instead—and, really, because the invention of a life-prolonging elixir doesn’t seem all that likely in my [one] lifetime—, I’m going to channel my energy into being thankful for the time that I’m given. I’m going to champion the small but significant ways that I can make my life mean something. I’ll live for fun, friendship, knowledge, creativity, love and compassion. I’ll be part mother, part explorer, part innovator, part thinker, part creator. This is how my one life will be lived.
And live it I will.
Nadia is a London-based writer, mostly daydreaming about adventures in faraway lands and unfamiliar cities. When she's not at work, she spends her time with a coffee in one hand and a good book in the other.