Often it takes something major to wake us up, as we struggle to maintain the illusion of control. The mind will fight for any sense of normalcy, it will struggle to maintain the story it has been telling itself simply out of habit. I started to think about what this pandemic is doing for all of us. Sometimes it takes losing a little freedom to realize the precious gifts we have right in front of us. The air. The joy of our little piece of this world, together. The beautiful sound of my son’s contented sigh as he sleeps. That is one of my favorite sounds in the entire world. In hearing that little intake and release of breath, I feel the whole world expanding. I feel the promise, the potential in him. I also feel the innocence and trust and absolute unconditional love. How one little sound from a tiny being can create so much emotion is beyond me, but I am grateful to feel it. I am thrilled to feel it. I am complete when I feel it. And it is only those little things that we really need. As we slow down and pause, remember what it is that you need.
Kerouac said to be in love with your live, every minute of it. I used to be afraid to show my emotion because of my “too muchness” and how easily people dismissed me or started to exclude me because of how I expressed myself. I was too loud, too emotional, too dramatic for so many people that I knew I needed to dull how deeply I felt and expressed things. It was only with time that I realized I was diminishing myself for their comfort. And I hated it. Those moments, the little ones like today, remind me so clearly why I don’t want to dull that emotion. Because the truth is I would trade every dull, pointless clubbing experience, every night drinking and bingeing, every 50 hour work week for a minute of listening to my son in complete peace. And that is the essence of loving life. Because that is what life really is. Life happens in the in-between when we are searching for that big moment. It’s the fleeting feeling of the sun so warm on your face as spring awakens. It’s the breeze of the air when you open the windows in the morning. It’s the smile you feel spread across your face when your favorite song comes on the radio randomly. Life isn’t just the big moments, it’s all the moments.
It took me a long time to realize that, as desperate as I was for acceptance and to control things, life isn’t about acceptance from other people and how big your friend group is. It’s about what you make of it. It’s about the joy you bring to it. It’s about how much you accept yourself. For me, I need to feel big. The feeling may not last a long time, but I need to feel it exactly as it is. I feel bad for people who believe they need to quiet themselves because they won’t be accepted. I feel bad for those who judge others for feeling big because in my heart, I know they were judged too and they are missing out on what it feels to be alive. Maybe if we all acknowledged what we’re feeling, we might have a little more tolerance for each other.
It’s amazing how much we take our lives for granted. How easily we fall into the routine. I know this isolation due to the pandemic is causing a lot of people to feel claustrophobic or bored, but I have never felt more alive or more hopeful in my life. I feel a different connection to myself again. There are parts of me that I will never take for granted again. There are new connections to the people I love as well and I don’t want to go back to the way things used to be. There is a different kind of strength that comes from authenticity. It is the raw vulnerability of being exactly who we are. And it is beautiful. So love your life big. Feel everything big, honestly. And in doing so, you will find the little moments that truly speak to you, and you will never take them for granted again.