(This is a forgotten post from last July)
Today was a hard day. A busy day.
Not emotionally hard… just, really full of difficult, mentally challenging work, mixed in with the baseline labor of living – maintaining things, maintaining professional relationships, that sort of stuff.
My plan for the end of the day was to pop over to my boat to give her a shiny ceramic coating, only to discover when I arrived at the marina that I couldn’t park because of Comic-Con (which wouldn’t really start until the next day) – I was pissed, smack-the-steering-wheel pissed. I pulled a u-turn, ready to head back home, when it occurred to me that there was other parking, and indeed I found a nice spot nearby.
I spent the next 3 hours sweatily applying ceramic sealant to Azulita as the sun set. Birds peeked in, music played in the distance, and the polish was turning out spectacularly.
It all came together in a moment of gratitude, and that is when I started feeling happy.
I was grateful I had such a beautiful boat in such a beautiful place. I was grateful the sun and the clouds where putting on a show for me, and that random birds were sharing it. I was proud of my handiwork and grateful I was capable of it.
It was a moment of peace and beauty and gratitude and sweaty contentment. It was happiness, but I didn’t realize it.
Later, as I walked back to my car, I paused to sit on the grass and take in the last of the sunset. The sun was long gone behind Point Loma, but it was lighting up the clouds something fierce, and reflecting off the Marriot as it occasionally does, and the light was perfect and the wind light and the sailboats sailed, lazily, and families walked by with their dogs and their backpacks and were in quiet awe just like me and it was beautiful and I was happy. But even then I didn’t quite realize it.
Driving back was crazy with all comic-con traffic – I had to detour all the way down to the airport, and by all rights I should have been pissed. But then Sigur-Ros started playing and a big fat jet flew right over me and another slowly banked taking off over the pacific and I noticed all the planes on the ground had lit their tails against the pink orange purple sky and it was beautiful and it hit me like a fucking wrecking-balled-sized mjolnir-class hammer – I was fucking happy. I was ecstatic, shake-fist-at-sky happy.
I often think about a fascinating woman we encountered a couple of years ago who asked, after about 30 cans of wine around a fire pit in Pismo, whether I was happy. I responded ‘do you mean do occasionally happy? Content?’, and she said “no, I mean HAPPY, ecstatic, all the time!”. I didn’t know that was a thing, and at the time I remember thinking that didn’t really happen to anyone.
Now, though, I’ve caught myself in that state. Like many other things in my life, I often let these feelings pass. I may remark on them in the moment, but I never think them momentous. I suspect they happen more often than I realize.
A couple of weeks ago I went for a random long walk on the beach as the sun set. It was peaceful, beautiful, inspiring, and I felt grateful to be able to experience it. That walk stuck with me, but only now, as I write this, do I realize that it made me happy.