April 09, 2010

The Best Life?

"Do you think it was in the womb?" my therapist asked, shaking her head as her earrings swished from side to side, blonde bangs vibrating against her forehead.

"This adventurous spirit of yours - where did it come from?"

Given my childhood, spent confined in a house with a reclusive mother and no visitors, I suppose most would say I'm still rebelling against my overprotective parents.

I have a different theory.

"Stuck in my house all that time," I said, welcoming the session's first glimmer of inspiration, "My only concept of reality was what I saw on TV, and -"

"- In movies," she chimed in, blinking through an admiring smile. "But most of your life is like a movie."

She recalled my stories of Tunisia, my adventures in the desert, my loves lost, my serendipitous encounters and opportunities that seem to drop out of the sky.

I nodded. "So when my life isn't like a movie, I think it's terribly boring. I think there must be something better for me out there, because real life isn't sitting on the couch watching TV, it's doing what you see on TV."

Unfortunately, that means that my standard for romance has been set by years watching CBS soap operas (or most recently, General Hospital), Grease and Dirty Dancing. My standard for friends is, well, Friends. My standard for careers lies somewhere between Working Girl and The Secret of My Success. My standard for excitement leaves me thrashing around my room all alone in the summer heat, waiting for my Clyde to come take me away. And we all know how that story ends....

In the meantime, if I must live, I must live well. And, like many of my fellow New Yorkers, I constantly have my eyes open for something better to come along. Here, in the greatest city in the world (so they say), isn't there always a newer hotspot, an older wine vintage, a stinkier cheese, a bigger bonus, a prettier girl, a higher floor, a lower rent, a stronger coffee, a shorter commute, a better option for anything you can think of? It almost makes the existence of any superlative, the -est of anything, inconceivable. We're always stuck in  pursuit of more, a perpetual state of chasing the -er.

If I was already living the best life I could possibly live, would I even know it?

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