I’ve decided to stop taking the daily bar exam.
To stop looking for my results to show up in a crisp white envelope at the end of every day or every hour or every minute, telling me whether I passed the bar or failed it. Again.
Not the legal bar, obviously.
Just the… bar bar.
The life bar.
The one I raise or lower every day and stretch to reach or try not to trip over.
You know; that bar. I’ve decided to stop taking that bar exam.
It’s time to lose the bar.
To eliminate the bar with its success versus failure paradigm and its constantly moving targets.
Or maybe not eliminate the bar, exactly.
Perhaps changing the paradigm and embracing the bar is better. And not just because the bar has beer.
I just … I guess I just wonder what it might be like to notice that the bar is weary of being raised and lowered all the time. That the bar has whiplash and an aching back from using poor form and changing positions too rapidly and not lifting with her legs.
I wonder what it might be like to look the bar in the face. To see her in all of her complexity and then, oh, I don’t know, celebrate her for that instead of dividing her, piecemeal, into the Meets Expectations or Has Not Met categories.
I’d like my life to be more than a rubric set by a bar.
Which is to say, I’d like a new kind of bar association.
I want to walk into the crowded bar. The kind like the corner pub filled with locals and tourists and sinners and saints and people who pass around stories like gifts.
I want to stand at the coffee bar in a small town in Italy and drink my cappuccino with the perfect coffee to foam ratio.
I want to learn to dance holding on to the barre.
And then dance on the bar with abandon.
I want spill on the bar, sloshing my locally crafted beer or housemade ginger ale over the edge of my ball glass as I gesture too wildly and laugh with my friends.
I want to clean up the spills and polish the bar with a damp, used rag, even though I know the next mess is coming.
I want to enjoy the bars made from energy and chocolate.
And wield a wooden bar like the short staff of a ninja.
I want to sing a few bars, probably off-key.
And break up the bar fights.
And tear the bars off the windows.
I want a new kind of bar association.
And to learn to carefully tend it.