The King of Wishful Thinking

I am such a searcher in life, such a planner, that I often worry that by focusing so much on the future, I will forget to live in the present. I think about Michael Cunningham’s stunning prose from The Hours on this very subject all the time:

“It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk. The anticipation of dinner and a book. The dinner is by now forgotten; Lessing has been long overshadowed by other writers. What lives undimmed in Clarissa’s mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and it’s perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other.”

But sometimes, I don’t forget to live in the present. Sometimes I find myself at an outdoor screening of Pretty Woman on a cool September night at a castle in Southwest England with my best friend, then back at her apartment, drinking wine and chatting into the night and dancing around her living room to the soundtrack until the wee hours of the morning and feeling nothing but joy, pure and unadulterated. And in those moments, few and far between as they may be, I think to myself, this is it. Here and now. “Happiness, not in another place, but this place not for another hour, but for this hour”, as Mr. Whitman would say. And I resolve to let that joy in more often. To chase it and to allow myself to find it and to swallow it whole without hesitation or regret, of course. But also to take it as it comes. Not just a few times a year when I’ve scheduled it, but always, in whatever form it may take.

Because what else is life for, if not moments like that? Even in the dark and trying times we live in, happiness is possible. And we mustn’t let it elude us or pass us by. We must claim it for our own at every chance we get, and savor it. We’re only here briefly, after all.

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So That is the energy I taking with me into the rest of 2019.

I refuse to give into my blues. That’s not how it’s going to be.