It's fitting that my friend Gina had just indulged in a luxurious massage when she spotted the phrase she would adopt as the motto for her life. The words, on a poster her masseuse kept on the wall, read: "Live Juicy."
Live juicy. When she shared her new mantra with me, I had to agree it sounded indulgent, sensual and exciting. After all, it's another way of saying carpe diem; what Thoreau meant by "sucking out all the marrow of life," although that image isn't quite as appetizing. It's about not merely living your life, but going for the juice. (I have since traced the phrase to a writer named Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, aka SARK, who penned a book published in 1994 called Living Juicy.)
Sure enough, Gina has taken these words to heart. Recently, she showed me a picture of the luxury sports car she hopes to buy. "Now that's juicy," she remarked with relish. Gina's life is juicy in other ways as well. Her curly hair, which she used to keep cropped short, has grown long, giving her a goddesslike appearance. She gets weekly manicures and frequent massages. She vacations in Italy and wears sexy lingerie and toe rings. I envy her whole juicy life.
But if Gina is sipping apricot nectar, my world is pulp-free orange juice. Where she is indulgent and adventurous, I am cheap, practical and something of a homebody. She is silk; I'm worn flannel. She covets a BMW Z4 Roadster; I've settled for a minivan. Frankly, these realizations are disturbing. In my quest for a comfortable, predictable, in-control life, have I forgotten how to fully live?
I used to know how. I backpacked through Europe, climbed the Alps and stood in awe at the foot of a glacier. I drove a dune buggy on the beach in Cozumel. I competed in four sprint triathlons. Sometimes I've guzzled the juice, other times it's been a sip, but it's always been worthwhile.
After spending time with Gina and contemplating my own woefully juiceless existence, I resolved to do something about it. After all, SARK herself proclaims that living juicy is all about the small, celebratory choices you can make every day. Dry your clothes in the sun, she suggests. Eat mangoes naked. Keep toys in the bathtub. These make me smile. These, I can do.
Living juicy, I'm learning, means challenging the ordinary, making a point of doing things that bring delight. I buy myself flowers now. I wear big, dangly earrings to the grocery store. I play kick-the-can with kids in the neighborhood. I've borrowed my daughter's boogie board for the thrill of riding the surf.
Granted, I still wear worn flannel jammies and drive a minivan, but now I remember to add the occasional shot of apricot nectar to my pulp-free juice. It's about living juicy on my own terms, seeking out and savoring the juicy moments every day. And that's something we all can do. Juicily. Cheers!