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Mar 2012
Everyone is so
How could you not be?
The only way that could happen
is if you'd planned your whole life out from the start--
very carefully stacking block upon block,
building your massive tower to your dream destination.
What do you do when you get there, though,
when you’re done?
You keep stacking towards your next dream,
rushing onwards, onwards to
the next destination,
the next layer,
each one a little less solid than the last.

And finally, when you get there,
there, the end goal of your whole life--
the perch atop which you sit, staring down,
with nowhere else to go,
at the final place you’ve been dreaming of all these years--
hell, was it worth it?
Worth all the anxiety and sweat and the meat being squeezed from your soul,
everything you’ve been working towards forever?
... what the hell is it, what are you even looking at, tell me!
I scream at you,
“Tell me, what's so great about where you are up there--
the view?”

But you are wise.
You’ve got to be, you’ve lived your whole **** life already.
You chuckle, and your wrinkles are friendly.
“Come see.”

I clamber up.
It takes forever—you’re old as hell and spent your entire life building this thing.
I keep climbing, and climbing, and the view keeps changing.
I’m getting higher.
I pause once, and glance behind me
to see the sprawling architecture of every floor beneath.
I have to remind myself to breathe and
keep going.

Finally, I reach you
and shake your hand.
I am standing atop an enormous tower,
So tall I can’t make out the ground,
Gazing back down at the intricate construction of your life.
Layer upon layer, every block a different day,
every floor a different chapter in your life.

Maybe it's the thin air, but it finally dawns on me.
It doesn’t matter where we are now.
What matters is every day, every moment that you spent getting here.

I look at you, and you sigh perfectly and completely.
“So long, kid,” you salute me,
and step off the edge.
I watch you fall in wonder.
But I know your legacy lives on
in the enormous and complicated and twisting tower
that remains, a tribute to your life.
Janet Li
Written by
Janet Li  charleston
   Emma Liang
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