Anxiety, foiled again.

I panicked.

“I don’t know what to do!” I gasped.

“What excites you?” she responded, cool like that.

Writing. Lying in bed at night with a head full of phrases and stories and wonderings. Making things make sense in sentences. Or trying. Writing as therapy, comedy, commentary, art.

Music. Discovering, listening, sharing, dancing. Nothing has affected my friendships and free time as much as this still-growing obsession with song – from the strangers I’ve connected with to places I’ve gone for the love of (three nights in a row of Wilco, Bon Iver in the pouring rain in Ireland).

The world. How different and breathtaking it is. From silly conversations overheard at the grocery store to cows silhouetted against Iowa winter sunsets to the summer afternoon crush of people on Roman subways. That everything has its glory and its humor and that we’re here to seeheartouchsmelltaste it.

Learning and diversity of experience. My favorite college classes taught me the rituals of Hinduism and the murkiness of journalistic ethics. I broke matzoh at Passover, stuck my hand in a cow’s stomach and grew sunflowers, changed bike tires and perfected downward-facing dog. I don’t want to lose this curiosity or those opportunities post-grad.

Talking to you (and you and you and you), seeing you, hugging you, making you smile. Love. I don’t know when I started needing these people so much, but my heart breaks without them. I know I could go anywhere. I will. But (in this we are beautifully weak) I don’t want to go alone.

A list.

Of small things to do to make an otherwise boring life much more interesting.

1. Set cell phone alarm to latin dance music — wake up salsa-ing.

2. Greet every stray cat you encounter with an unashamedly loud, “Hey, Cat!” (Also works for dogs or raccoons.)

3. Search news wire for every story with the word “odd” in the slug.

4. Peruse “The Book of Questions.” #92: Is there something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it? #21: Do you prefer being around men or women?

5. Maintain a completely irregular sleep schedule.

6. Work out with old people who are very comfortable with their bodies and their late-80s clothing choices.

7. Accidentally stalk the crazy cowboy guy from the YMCA.

8. Never buy the same type of coffee, salad dressing, yogurt or wine.

9. Refuse to organize that clothing drawer — never know when you’re about to run out of socks…or underwear.

10. Accept hugs from random toddlers at the laundromat.

11. When you know your downstairs neighbor is watching you leave the house from her window, do something mysterious and illegal-looking while getting in the car.

12. And finally, advice from Mom: Don’t be afraid to force yourself on new friends…just not sexually.

Merci, Becca.

Vers Pont du Gard, France, July 2009

Thank you for reminding me that there were, are, will be red-wine blue-sky days like this one. I feel tipsy just thinking about it.

“I love the fact you’re a moose. Yes. So soft, so soft.”

Today was a very silly day.

It started with Obits — which usually make me chuckle over wild nicknames or obscure memberships or the one guy who wanted his last photo in print to be in a Shriner cap. Feels slightly disrespectful, but I like to think they’d be happy to raise my spirits a little. Things in the office get dull after the day-time shift leaves.

Anyway, tonight, one of our guy’s “hobbies included drag racing and taking naps.”

In another, “His passions were his Chrysler, electronics and Pancake Day.” Pancake Man had also requested that all memorials be made in his name to help support future Pancake Days. I think priorities like this at the end of life are admirable. Sleeping, flapjacks — no need to stress over the rest.

And THEN I go home and find a new blog link from C. Dean: Sleep Talkin’ Man.

Hours of giggling ensued.