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I’m currently experiencing the kind of sore throat that started as a tickle in my left ear, grew to full-on sore on the left side of my neck, expanded to include both sides of my throat overnight, and now also resides firmly in both ears.

Sore throats sort of slay me. I sleep a lot, drink vast quantities of hot water, and consume spoonfuls of honey. At the same time, I recognize the power of not talking. I haven’t been saying much of anything, mostly because it just freaking hurts. Also, I want to save up for tomorrow, when I’ll be seeing a dear friend and would prefer to be able to say hello rather than just flap my arms at her.

The not talking thing has me communicating telepathically with my dog and pointing at things with my husband. Oddly, I just finished a novel wherein one of the characters made a pilgrimage to India and have subsequently started the Steve Jobs biography, which details his trip to India.

Is the universe trying to tell me something?

Nevermind that before reading both books, I spent hours online the other day researching trips to India.

During this time in New York, I’ve witnessed a lot of art. I saw de Kooning and Kandinsky at the Guggenheim, and Yayoi Kusama at the Whitney. I saw Uncle Vanya performed, twice, by different theatre companies. I’ve seen Broadway hits, Tony Award-winning actors, and amazing film. I cried while reading a Pulizter Prize-winning novel, and laughed out loud on the subway at The Onion.

The other day, C and I nearly lost our damn minds in a Whole Foods because the combination of idiot checker, bagger, and odd employee coagulated into a Bermuda Triangle of clusterfuck proportions that kept the entire line of customers in a suspended stage of rage.

Then I said, quietly, We’re in a Whole Foods. Let’s calm down. (Talk about a first world problem.)

I mean, it’s easy to exist in a state of grace when you’re looking at priceless artwork. It takes actual grace to do it in everyday life.

Often, I’m not very good at the latter.

I read an article written by an Australian hospice worker who has compiled the top five regrets people express on their deathbeds. You can read the article here, but I’ll list the five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This sore throat will pass. I’ll start yammering away again soon. But the silence I’m keeping now forces me to pay attention to things. Somehow, I’m not interested in watching other people talk, either, so I’ve been reading non-stop. I’m hearing things I don’t usually listen to.

People often travel to India looking for spiritual guidance, answers, enlightenment. I like to think I would welcome any or all of those things. In the meantime, though, I’ll ponder those five regrets. At the end of my life, I would like very much to be unable to say any of those things. I would prefer, as I am now, to be speechless.

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