punctuated by wonder
Last night, M asked me about rose, thorn, bud about my time in New York this time around as it comes to an end. My natural expectation for a rose is something big, meaningful, big announcement and showers of confetti, so it was surprisingly wonderful to observe myself go towards the smallest things: a timeline of smiles, an army of carriage drivers hustling for rides after a show, playground fountains like secret geysers, the moon in all her sizes peeking out above the trees, rising like a star over Brooklyn Museum, a ring of statues of old, famed philosophers along the roof casting long shadows.
These small moments are what I live for. I used to crave the satisfaction that would come from finishing big, professional Goals: securing a good internship, moving into the right neighborhood, going on the perfect trip or restaurant, finding the right startup job. A lot of these things don’t end up living up to expectations when you end up getting them. We expect that our lives will magically improve by many multiples, but we just have one more accomplishment or bucket list item checked off of our list and life goes on. Things that suck still suck. On the flip side, things that are wonderful are still wonderful.
I wonder at what point I started appreciating tiny moments more, when I learned to stop putting so much pressure on things that seemed important and nourishing. I see little threads of it in the occasional poem I wrote right after college, like a twinkle, inspired by a summer stint in Taiwan. A significant part definitely came from loosening my tendency to need to rush everywhere I went, impatiently optimizing every single moment of my life for productivity. First for video games, maximizing my hours of practice, and then for “work.” I started meandering around instead of speed-walking to specific destinations. I began to let my mind go on disparate rabbit holes, jumping between dance videos and poems and cooking vlogs. I disassociated myself from needing to be legible to anyone externally watching and trying to make sense of my machinations. When I learned to follow my instinct for what gives me unexpected joy, when I opened myself up to receiving a bit more of the breadth of detail in everyday reality, when I gave up on any notion of a universal standard for meaningfulness, I started finding wonder in the most unexpected of places, in everyday moments.
I hope my life always feels like a series of moments punctuated by wonder. I hope I never lose the joy I get from discovering the moon peeking out in an innocuous patch of sky. I hope I’ll never lose my tendency to stop in the middle of walks for the silliest things: a CCTV camera that appears to be sprouting from vines, a whale-shaped cloud, the eyes-closed, lips pursed, pure bliss of a car passenger jamming to a song. The face of one in rapture, free of judgment, open with no assumptions, eager for any surprise that life offers so willingly.
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