School has had me reading things that I haven’t wanted to read, but this past weekend I re-read One Day by David Nicholls. I haven’t read a book I’ve wanted to read in such a long time, but during the second re-read I realized how really great books, books that aren’t forced on you, can just take you away. And to me, this is a really great book.
Good books make you think, they let you contemplate life and situations. Most of the time I don’t know what parts of me are real and what parts I have taken from books. I feel that a majority of my personality is taken from characters from novels molded into a reality.
One Day was one of those books that really made me think about life and how fast everything can change. It was one of those books that made me realize that not everything is permanent. Yes, I knew that already, but how the novel set that fact up was so beautiful.
Each year on July 15th, you happen upon Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley. You just get a quick glimpse of how their life is on that day. Sometimes they are together, sometimes they are not, but as the back cover charmingly says, “they’re never not thinking about each other.”
Life is so short, their twenty years came and went by so quickly. Their life together had complications, fights, tears, love, sex, lust, and so much more. It was real, everything about Em and Dex, Dex and Em were real.
The book just made me think that I have to start living the life that was given to me. I need to take things by force, grab life by the balls. I need to stop being so scared about everything and learn to live for myself. If I don’t, then where will I be in ten years? Working at a Mexican restaurant like Emma while the guy I have been in love with since college graduation is shagging a bunch of girls? I don’t want that kind of life. I know what I want, I want to travel. I want to write and read. I want to meet someone who makes me want to learn. I desperately want to find someone who is interesting and finds me interesting. Someone who can make me laugh.
Why is that so difficult?
Emma and Dexter were, what I believe, everything I want. They weren’t perfect. They both had their flaws. Emma was self-righteous, self-conscious, aggravating, and thought she was better than everyone else in the world. Dexter was a pig, he had sex with anything that moved. He drank too much, smoked too much, never worked hard to get anything because everything was brought to him. But, towards their thirties they both grew up, separately.
Dexter was married to someone else. Emma was in a long term relationship. But, they both were unhappy. Isn’t that how life is? You don’t always get the preferred hand, but you’ve got to play it anyway, hoping that one day you’ll play it just right.
Life is crazy. So many things can get thrown at you from left field, but it’s how you handle it that shapes you into the person you grow up to be. Difficult situations will arise for everyone. People come and go from our lives. People die. Life happens. The most important thing to do in any situation is to pick yourself up from the wreckage and try as hard as you can to move on. It’s not the easiest thing to do. Memories appear in your mind, and you get stuck into the past, but day to day it starts to tick away and you will remember the good moments without sadness.
That’s what Dex did. He picked up the pieces of his life when everything was falling apart. He stopped drinking so much, he found happiness in the things around him, like Emma. Emma realized that she could do anything if she set her mind to it. And, she did. She finally wrote the book she so longed to write. She found inspiration all around her, she travelled to Paris, and the whole time Dex was there.
Em and Dex. Dex and Em.
Maybe I’m feeling sentimental. I’m always feeling sentimental. I’ve let so many friendships fall apart from lack of trying to make them work. I’m a bad friend. In the end, I guess I find it too hard to make an effort, when effort isn’t reciprocated. Should I continue to go out of my way to text, call, or Skype someone who doesn’t do the same back? Should I keep up with friendships with people who don’t start conversations first?
In the end, sometimes, I feel that I’m just not going to have friends. I don’t like a lot of people. I’m rude without meaning to, mostly sarcasm, and I fear that people don’t understand my dry sense of humor. Most of the time, I feel that life has dealt me a pathetic hand, and I just suck at playing. But, other times, I feel so blessed with the people in my life.
I believe that everyone comes into your life for a reason. Serendipity and all that. Accidents of fate. You meet everyone for a reason, whether good or bad because those people teach you lessons in your life. The lessons I have learned this year is to start being a better friend, sister and daughter. I need to learn how to say no, and to finally making the steps towards the life that I want. The travel life, the writing life, the multiple experiences life.
It’s time to move on. Wherever that takes me.