Back to the Rooftop with the Otis

As I set out on my run earlier this evening, something I saw while walking through Hayes Green or heard Ira Glass say on my iPod flooded my head with memories (patchy though they may be) of sitting on Ote's roof back in Boston and talking about Buddhism while consuming entirely too much wine.

That was in the summer of 2005, when I was still relatively raw and achy from the hell of the previous November, and though I can't entirely recall the specifics of our conversation, I do remember tearily protesting to Otis something about how defeatist it seemed to agree with the Buddhist take that life is suffering if, indeed, you were suffering. I think I said something to the effect that the only way I could keep myself afloat was by believing that that wasn't so, at least not in the long term, and by holding fast to all of the moments that in fact argued against life as suffering.

So I thought of that today, then immediately wished to have the chance to replay that evening, that conversation, from my current perspective. I wanted the Now Me to be able to tell the Then Me that there would come a time when happiness wouldn't require slathering good memories with mortar and working them into a wall that would hold back the bad ones, when it would seem entirely possible to feel that life was good and right and full in general, rather than just in fits and starts, in moments that could disappear as quickly as they had arrived.

Then I ran.

After I got home, and was standing at the sink doing dishes and mulling over the verbose, pseudo-analytical e-mail I'd sent Dave earlier (which, as an aside, included references to both one of Aesop's fables and--yes, D, wait for it--an essay from O Magazine), I changed my mind. I decided that, even if I were given the chance, I'd want the Now Me to let the Then Me hack through things on her own.

Readers with sensitive stomachs will want to skip this paragraph, because there's no way I can word it (at least not at this hour) without it sounding at least a bit pat. For those still with me: what occurred to me at the kitchen sink is that I'm retrospectively grateful for all the crap that's come before now, because it makes me realize how intensely awesome now truly is. Though I would've likely told off anyone attempting to get me to see this at the time, there's something to be said for having your heart julienned/sucker punched/danced upon with hobnailed boots/all around broken, because when you sew it back together and the scars finally cover over, it comes back smarter and stronger.

A word I find myself using frequently these days is lucky. I feel immensely lucky that Erik found me, lucky to have friends and family whose hearts are swelling right along with mine, lucky to have taken a risk a few weeks back, lucky that it paid off. And I feel lucky for all those years of having not enough; they've made me even more thankful to finally feel like everything is growing full.