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Monologue on a Life Not Lived This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

“Dear June”- No, that not right. “Dearest Sister”- that’s too formal. It’s no use. How can I start this letter? How can I write this letter? There is nothing to say. She went to Machu Picchu and is training to climb Kilimanjaro. How can you answer that? How can you top that? “Dear June, I was promoted to assistant manager at the Selden WalMart”. How pathetic. I can’t even bring myself to respond. How can I? Her life is the one I wanted. The one I dreamed about. The one I planned for. Go to high school, go to college, see the world. That was the plan. How did it get to this point? My life was supposed to start when I started college. Then on Graduation day. Then when I got my own apartment. Then when I got my first job. I’m still waiting for it to start. 40 years old, and I still haven’t lived.
It’s my own fault. I sit here encapsulated in my own complacency. I never did anything about what I wanted. Tommorow, on Monday, next month, in the summer. These days never came. They just kept getting put off. There must have been a good reason that I kept postponing my life. I wish I had an excuse. “Oh, well my parents died”, “I had to take care of my sister for most of my life”, etc. Nothing. I didn’t have to take care of anyone except myself, and I didn’t do a very good job of that.
I wanted my life to be like a crater falling to earth. I wanted to make an impact. Instead, my life has had no more impact than a leaf falling from a tree in autumn. If I died tomorrow, who would notice? My sister may notice next Christmas if I fail to send her a card. My employees might notice if I wasn’t there. Even then, they would just give the position to someone else and stop sending my paychecks. No one would feel any emptiness or loss if I was gone. Again, my own fault. I was too busy going on to the next thing, the next step. I didn’t bother to make any connections.

I look out the window of the life I could have had, but I never dared to open the door. I was too scared, I guess. This life is safe, predictable. I know what time I am going to wake up, what I am going to eat for breakfast, how I am going to drive to work, what is going to happen. Halfway around the world, anything could happen. I chose safety. Instead of feeling the cool breeze in my hair and the warm sun on my face, I chose to feel the breeze of my unsatisfied sighs and the warmth of an office lamp.
I never felt scared; I always was looking forward to when something exciting was going to happen. But I guess that’s what it was- fear. Fear of letting people down, fear of the unkown. Last year, I was supposed to go to the Caribbean. But, wait- I was up for Employee of the Month. If I went, I couldn’t receive that award. Now I look back and don’t know what I was thinking. That means nothing to me. Something always will come up, it’s up to you to not let it stop you, if you don’t want it to.
I expected my life to be full of adventure. I wanted to go on trips around the world, I wanted to go on safari, and I wanted to go skydiving. The closest I have come to these things has been sitting on my couch watching the television as it projects- with the light of a thousand unfulfilled dreams- these hollow images into my empty soul.
I let my life get to this place. To this non-place. To this nothingness I languish in. Tomorrow, I quit my job. Tomorrow I buy a ticket to Costa Rica. Tomorrow is the day my life begins.
Wait- no. Not tomorrow. Not some other day, some other time. Now. Pick up your phone now. You talk about how you want your life to be full of adventure. You talk about how spontaneous you want to be, could be, if this or that didn’t get in your way. You are the only thing in your way. Step aside. Today is the day my life begins. It is right now or sit in this room pouting over how you had the chance to do something but never did. “Hi, can I please speak to the manager. Oh, he’s not there? Ok, maybe tomorrow”…




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