The easier way out was callous detachment—cold, unyielding days without offering an ounce of care about anything around us. It did wonders, at first. There was a wave of independence, of happiness, and for a bit, the illusion worked. Then, the detachment spread into the very things we were trying to protect. It didn’t happen overnight, nor could we notice it; it crept upon us. Before we knew it, before we even had a chance to look, we’d have walked so far away, we couldn’t find our way back home. I would know, I distanced myself so far away from everything; I still lose myself if I stray too far sometimes.
The poets are not wrong—not that they ever are wrong—real happiness was in indulging, in looking at the world with the same wonder you had before you wanted to get away from everything. The one thing that people often missed was how wonder was not necessarily in some exotic view, some serene sunset. While those were excellent alternatives, there was something easier. All we had to do was look around without looking at anything in particular. To engulf ourselves in the moment, to immerse in where we were so completely, to drown in the moment was the easier, and in my experience, the better way out.
Out of what? Out of the sheer weight of life, out of the human condition, out of the feeling of something always being askew. If there was a way out, it was in the art of observing clearly. The error was in assigning meaning to everything. There was no meaning, and that was okay. The art of observing clearly meant to look at things as they are, let them be as they are and still find joy in them. Like all things, you had to practice it. If it were raining and if it ruffled an old memory, you had to tell yourself, the rain is nothing but the rain, beautiful in itself. People were just people, words were just words, the sky was the sky—spanning and infinite; life was here for us to see in its epic glory, as it was.
To live was to care enough to let something destroy us; to live well was to look around at life in awe, knowing nothing truly could.