Sunday, December 29, 2013

10 of the Best Feelings in the World

Not an exhaustive list by any means, but here are a few of, in my opinion, the best feelings in the world and small moments in life to be very grateful for:

1) Coming home. Wherever and whatever home is for you, whether it's going back to the mountains with the sunset glinting gold over the horizon or driving back to your city after being away, when you round the bend on the interstate and can see that beautiful skyline again. Knowing that you have some small niche, a place of your own, an area where you belong and can be yourself and be comfortable.

2) That moment that typically happens around October of your freshman year of college when you realize that you actually have friends at this school and you like it here and want to stay. One chilly fall weekend, you spend virtually the entire weekend having ridiculously long talks with people over waffles and hot chocolate at brunch and then cramming far too many girls on your dorm-room bed to watch movies and laugh and laugh, and you have The Moment and realize you actually like these people, a lot.

3) The wonderful feeling when the unfamiliar becomes familiar and even comfortable, like wearing a well-worn pair of jeans. Perhaps it's the time when you're driving home from work at rush hour to your tiny apartment, and you realize you don't see this place just as the huge city with too much traffic and too many people--instead, you see your favorite park, your favorite neighborhood coffee shop, your favorite hole-in-the-wall thrift store. You know your way around, where to go for the best farmer's market or manicure or yoga session, and it's become your city. Or maybe it's the moment when your tongue suddenly and finally wraps around the strange cadences of the new language you've struggled for so long to learn, and you find yourself having deep conversations and conveying meaning in that language and you honestly forget it's not your own. And you say something funny and native speakers laugh and you know it's because you actually said something genuinely funny, not because you messed up the words worse than the soufflé you tried to make for that dinner party last month. (And this is even more true when you are living in the culture and have to speak the language just to get by.)

4) The feeling of being strong, like when you are running and you feel your heart beating and blood pumping and your muscles straining and your breath becoming a bit ragged but you just want to keep going anyway, because you're about to run without stopping for longer than you ever have before in your life.

5) Feeling capable and self-sufficient. When you fix the toilet or the chipped plaster or the malfunctioning garbage disposal or the flat tire yourself. When you move yourself to a new place, file the motion in court yourself, paint the kitchen on your own, write an amazing cover letter yourself. Or even simply being capable of taking care of the really small things, like doing all your laundry and washing your sheets and deep-cleaning everything, knowing that you've absolutely earned a hot shower and a night of takeout Thai food and a marathon of My Strange Addiction on Netflix.

6) When you have a moment of absolute, spontaneous, entirely unexpected connection with an unlikely person, and you have an amazing conversation and they just get you, and you realize you should actually probably be BFFs.

7) The realization that you are stronger than you think. That it's pure grit and determination and adrenaline getting you through, but that's ok because you have no shortage of tenacity, and you can and will fight for what you believe in and stand up for yourself and push through it.

8) Getting in the car to go on a road trip to the beach with friends, when you're totally stocked up on fresh playlists and sunscreen and novels and diet cherry Dr. Pepper, and you can already practically smell the salt of the ocean breeze even though you're still, like, six hours away.

9) Enjoying the unbroken possibility of the early morning. Drinking your tea and brushing your teeth and watching the sun rise, sitting in the utter quiet and gathering your strength for the day ahead.

10) Moments of brief respite in times of intense crisis of stress or pain or grief or disappointment. Brief periods of completely unadulterated happiness like the strange peace in the eye of the storm, whether caused by a night out with friends, losing yourself in a project or purpose that matters to you, or simply walking outside on a fall day and finally noticing all the beautiful autumn leaves. And realizing that you're alive, and life can still be beautiful.

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