Bookmark #748

You must train yourself to spot joy. It is not always apparent, and sometimes, you might have to pick a few rocks for it to squiggle out from under them or squint hard as if seeking some elusive bird hiding in the woods ahead. But I promise you that if you do this enough, you will learn to spot it in the heaviest of fogs, in the worst storm possible.

For a little while a few years ago, I lost this ability, so excuse me if this sounds like some sermon by an unholy priest. It is not easy finding your footing. They always told me I was too old for my age. Perhaps it is that and nothing else, yet I feel this catharsis in my heart. A sequence in some film shows me some mirror of hindsight, or some song tugs at the right strings, and all of a sudden, I find myself with tears in my eyes. Tears of what? You might wonder, given my claims of having trained myself well enough to spot happiness. I do not know what to tell you—some things you just know for yourself, and if you don’t, then I suggest you call yourself lucky. But if I were to attempt still and not leave you hanging with your hand out for an explanation, I’d say it is lament over people I will never get to see, over time lost in the years I can only recall in passing. So much I have forgotten because I was too far away from this world. So much that I know to have happened has no record whatsoever—not in these words, not in my memory, but in parting words, and often, denying someone the privilege of the same.

All my unhappiness is now remembered as regret. But it is not something I carry with me on my person. It is a painting on a wall, waves lashing about it, as haphazard and tumultuous as I assume I was at the time. How unfortunate that I met some of the most incredible people I have ever met when I was lost at sea. Now, I can but sit at this shore, having spent years here. All my storms have passed. All the visitors have left. Some tried to stay, too, tried to hold on. We cannot say who tore their camps apart. Was it the sea, I wonder, or was it just me?

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