I’m standing on Nickerson Field surrounded by graduates, reminiscing about my own college experience — my regrets, my accomplishments, how far I’ve come since then — when the band starts to play and everyone on the field starts singing along. I’m happy, of course, at this joyous celebration, but I’m also overwhelmed by such a wave of emotion that I almost start to cry. This happens to me a lot, I reflect, grimacing my face to hold back tears. At sports games, at races, at concerts and parades, movies, comedy shows. I wonder if it happens to anyone else? It’s like a million different stories, hopes, disappointments, broken hearts, successes wash over me all at once and all I can do is drown in the tidal wave of intensity. I feel so interconnected with humanity and it’s such a beautiful and magical feeling to be channeling all of that at once. I’m all alone in the crowd, but I’m a part of every single soul there. And so I cry.
Today I had one of those days (probably some female hormone thing) where simple tasks like putting pots away made me suddenly want to cry. Everything made me flustered and cranky. I was tired. I didn’t go running. I spent the whole day feeling lonely and isolated, sad and unloved, even though I know none of that is actually true. Today was one of those days where it was hard to focus and hard to appreciate all the little things I normally love. I have a day or two like this a month, and I know it will pass, but usually I indulge myself a bit, let myself wallow in it while that sadness lingers. I listen to depressing music, read old emails that make me feel bad about myself, or think of all the reasons my life isn’t what I want it to be. But today I decided to focus on those moments when I feel so interconnected to the world, like at graduation. I forced myself to laugh and make a joke when I felt more like getting annoyed or angry. I spent some time organizing my personal email, following up with people when I felt like shutting down, and forced myself to write here when I didn’t feel like I had anything worthwhile to say. I reread emails that made me feel good and thought about compliments that people had paid me. And you know what? Even though I did let myself listen to some music that made me sad (it’s not my fault the Lana del Ray song “Young and Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby is so darn addictive!), I am closing the day feeling peaceful and at ease instead cranky and miserable.
So it made me think that maybe happiness is a daily choice and not some grand, distant state we all should be striving towards for the future. Maybe it’s here and now, everyday, if we only let ourselves feel it.
How was your day today? Do you ever have moments where you feel like crying when you shouldn’t?