impossible to express or measure in terms of quantity.
From start of my life, in numerous ways, I have been told how to measure the quality of my existence. Life has seemed to be a series of comparisons or equations. I’ve been given grades and test scores to determine my intelligence. My physical presence has been measured in inches and pounds. My wealth has been measured in dollars and cents. Wins and losses have been determined by points scored. I’ve been asked to express my happiness and/or pain on a scale of one to ten, and so on and so forth. I plug my numbers into equations and they regurgitate my value in society. Everything seems to have to be defined and certain, yet the reality is: nothing that matters to me is absolutely defined or certain or measurable. I’m tired of standards, tired of (so called) certainty, tired of being ranked on a soulless scale.
When I think about the people I love and the experiences I cherish, I don’t think about numbers or scores! Instead, I feel a lightness in my soul and a smile coiling up on my face. I recall joyous moments and my breathing becomes easier, my lungs feel bigger. When I think of times of sorrow or pain, my body feels heavy and my face either cringes or droops low…my heart beats faster and my brain becomes clouded. The most awful day of my life and the absolute best day of my life (so far) are undeniably immeasurable! I wouldn’t dream of giving them a grade or a score!
I suppose that if I measured well on the standard scales of life I might embrace them more. The truth is, however, that on the scales most people live by I am a colossal failure! But I pose these questions: what if I am being measured wrong? what if a meaningful life is absolutely unquantifiable? what if measurements don’t mean anything at all? what if we are all living life worrying about all the wrong things? what if all these numbers and grades are ruining everything? what would life be like without comparisons and standards?
My desire to embrace what I feel has taken me down some pretty fun roads. While it is true that those roads always eventually became too bumpy to continue down (or ultimately led to a dead end), I wouldn’t prefer a smooth road with signs marking speed limits–distances between towns–and indications of places to refuel. Where the road signs, pavement, and measurements end…well, that’s where all the adventures begin! Unmarked offshoots have left me with a great story to tell! Where have I been? What have I done? I can’t tell you that I went to college, got a bachelor’s degree, and then started working in my field of choice…and that now I am getting married to the man of my dreams…and we are buying a house together. None of those things are true for me. I went to community college for Auto Collision Technology, and I am short two math credits–NO DEGREE! I worked in my field of study, sure, yeah, for a period of time. At 17 I worked for a man who grew up on a reservation in extreme poverty, he later decided to live off the land in Wyoming for two years, and then decided to open a shop and for some crazy reason gave me a job! I can tell you that-that job provided me the opportunity to work on Russell Means’ car, and that I learned about the history of our country that no books would have ever told me. I got to work at a manufacturing shop painting horse trailers and I learned how to weld. Working there led me to having my hand in restoring a 68 fastback Mustang, I was responsible for all body work and paint (with help and suggestions from my friends and teachers along the way). That job brought me to the premiere of an independent film about breaking horses, that night I got a job with a woman in the film. That took me to California, then Arizona, then Utah, and ultimately back to Colorado. I continued schooling then decided to go back to California for a Mustang challenge. That decision brought me to a friend I will have for life who took me in when I had a broken body and an empty wallet. My empty wallet told me to go up north to Idaho to work on a sport horse farm for six months. Idaho and California taught me that I hate competitions and politics and that riding horses should purely be for pleasure. Then I came back to Colorado and got a construction job and worked with a cool group of tough, hard working men. They taught me to have hope and they accepted me as a fellow laborer. That job left me with enough money to take this summer and climb as many mountains as I can, to see the things I want to see, and to do the things I want to do! What grade does all that get? What is my degree in? How much money have I made? None of that matters!
Tell me a good joke and I just might laugh, tell me a bad joke and I just might laugh harder. Tell me a good story, tell me a bad story, tell me the truth. Tell me a lie, but only if it makes a good story better or a bad story worse. Tell me about a close call or a hard fall. Tell me about love, tell me about heartbreak. Tell me about joy, tell me about pain. Tell me about tomorrow, tell me about way back when. Tell me about the ones you’ve lost, tell me about the one’s you hope to meet. Tell me about what you’ve learned, tell me about what you don’t understand. Tell me about mistakes. Tell me about big breaks. Tell me the things you wish you had done, then tell me about the things you regret but still wouldn’t go back and change even if you could. Tell me about the things you would change if you could. Tell me about rides on planes, trains, and wild horses. Tell me any and all of these things, but never tell me what to do or how to be. Don’t tell me how I measure up on any ridiculous scale. Don’t tell me to give anything a grade or to rate my experience with a number. Don’t tell me I am a loser or a winner. Each life and each experience is far too unique to be deemed a success or a failure, life is unquantifiable- impossible to measure or express in terms of quantity (or quality)!