Life in 5s



Lately, I’m looking at my life in terms of fives. Five-year plans. Numbered milestones. 20, 25, divisible by. My head raised, I’m wide-eyed and looking up at the future, I’m on my knees, seductive, mouth gently lifted to whatever it is that comes next. Or at least I’m trying to be gentle. To be pliant, reasonably open.


I’m familiar with this need to be possessed by something larger, be entered and held by a motivation, some fear, something to throw you headlong into a body of work. I love that phrase, body of work. The work committed by a body, the work that moves along the contour of your life like a body, moving and transforming like a body. I much prefer it to career. Do they use that phrase for non-artists? My friend, she’s going to be a lawyer, will it be her body of work? It’s totally evocative, totally bourgeoisie and in the clouds. Hi, this is me and my body of work. Save that stuff for the galleries!


Wouldn’t it be nice to work in a gallery? It’s difficult to be happy about work. I do dream about labour, but it’s never the kind that I can do. I wouldn’t be the best at working in a gallery, being a curator or assistant, I don’t have the passion or experience. It’s the nature of this moment in my life that I look at anyone and their job and wish it was mine. Bar manager. Consultant. I see myself living all these lives, and then getting sick of all these lives, being burnt out, getting a mortgage, considering having a child with my long-term boyfriend. I’m on my knees to all these possible futures, I’m subservient to them, I just want them to take me. Some future needs to take me.


Despite the tasks of the day, I feel static, I worry this exciting mixture of work-life career body art gallery child spouse will never come to me. The future happens whether I want it to or not, in a serious sense, every moment we are entering the future. That was a future moment that just went by. And another. I know it'll happen to me irrevocably, but I still worry. The right future is elusive, this girl I have a crush on, she dances with me so close, but we don’t speak, we don’t say anything of importance. I’m waiting for this future like I wait for her to be vulnerable with me. I can’t do anything but stay open.


I could make everything connect to come back in fives. Five fingers painted red laboriously on the couch next to my loves, my magnificent friends. The slow pleasure of filling them in right and waiting for them to dry, with nothing else to do. I could do my nails next to you all day, best friends, I love to watch nonsense and speak only a few times in the hour. So many things feel good to me right now. I take pleasure in filling my walls with art, little ticket stubs, posters, and then I lie in my bed full of appreciation. I love decorating my flat, piece by piece, the new photo frame and the glass-blown pink bottle, we could put flowers in it. I thoroughly enjoy reading even when I’m skimming, 30 minutes to read 10 pages, and it’s tough but I want to say something smart in this class. I don’t finish. Another five– it’s five minutes to the bus and the walk is four, running to make it in time, heaving as I sit down. Five white foam leaves on the top of this pretty coffee. The length of my phone call home, speak for longer tomorrow. Everything is so pleasurable in the present. I choose to indulge myself in how good things can feel. I will learn to choose to stop worrying, take five deep breaths as the future washes over me, expanse of sea with large waves.

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