In August 2006 I moved to Virginia. I was by myself in a big, expensive city with tons of traffic and little funds. It was my first full-time job and my first foray with loneliness.
I worked to get my masters degree.
I worked to pay for my apartment.
I worked to live, and I lived to go to work.
Summer turned to fall. A particular stretch of my Saturday grocery-store drive was lined with cherry trees. The changing colors of those trees entered my eyes and danced in my soul; their vibrancy became a part of me.
It was the only autumn that I didn’t/haven’t lived in Illinois. One autumn was all it took. Even now when the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change, I recall that Virginian drive.
I disliked living there, but I loved that drive.
On Saturday mornings those trees were all mine. Eleven years later and the memory of those trees is still mine.
Living alone in Virginia = commode
Changing cherry trees = moment
Moment = joy
Fast forward to my pregnancy (a very joyous time in my life).
Mom and I went to Florida for about a week. It poured the entire trip, and I don’t mean the regular Floridian afternoon shower. I mean torrential daily downpour. We were stuck inside, in a condo with technological issues that resulted in no television or internet.
Once a day, we drove to a nearby McDonald’s for breakfast. It’s not at all our norm, but they had free Wi-Fi. I’d pack up my laptop, Mom her iPad, and off we’d go, for an hour or so, to Mickey D’s.
The parking lot was starting to flood. We’d do our best to find dry spots for our flip-flopped feet. Order our coffee or tea. Claim a booth and sit. And browse. And dry out. Me and Mom. Hanging out and happy.
Sometimes plugging in is a form of unplugging.
To this day, when we visit that same town and I drive by that same McDonalds, I think of those rain-soaked mornings. Mornings that became moments of sunshine within soggy surroundings.
Commode To JoySometimes plugging in is a form of unplugging. Click To Tweet
Mark and I drove to Chicago Friday. We ate at a fancy restaurant – the kind where you go for the experience more so than the food. We watched the sunset over the city – the change over from day light to city lights. Moment.
Ode To Joy
We went to Hamilton. The cheer of the crowd at the first “Alexander Hamilton” refrain. Moment.
At the end of the King’s song, my favorite song, I clapped and cheered and looked at Mark with a full wattage smile. His returned smile, one of immense pleasure, resided in his eyes, as if my happiness made his complete. Moment.
We met friends for lunch yesterday. When they rounded the corner in the restaurant and I first spotted their striding, smiling faces. Moment.
Every day – no matter how lonely, no matter how dreary – has moments.
Sometimes those moments of joy aren’t identifiable until after the fact, once hindsight clears the clouds. Along with the cloud clearing comes clarity in the form of changing cherry trees and wi-fi booths. It’s how commode-like experiences become odes to joy.
Work toward your dreams. Work on your goals. Work to get the grade or the promotion. Work for vacation or retirement. Work for whatever it is you want to achieve in life. But don’t live for work.
Live for the moments.
That’s where joy resides.Live for the moments. That’s where joy resides. Click To Tweet
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