Have you ever taken a moment to really appreciate the spectrum of colors that come from a sunrise? The way the light creates shadows on the base of the clouds? Or the way the rays dance across the horizon, stopping only at the farthest corners your eyes can see? Have you ever wondered if they keep going beyond what your vision can capture?
When the sky smells like rain. The concrete is steaming, radiating warmth into the cold, the water only just stopping for a moment. The raindrops fall from the leaves on the trees and the beads still sit on the blades of grass. For a moment, one moment, the entire world is quiet and you are immersed in the midst of it all.
The smell of bacon, of pancakes, of coffee and chocolate milk seeping under a bedroom door. The blankets are warm, and you are warmer, but soft music is dancing from the kitchen, and suddenly your bed isn’t so comfortable anymore. That first step out of bed is a big one.
Water covers your head as you dive in. All sounds from beneath the surface are amplified, all sounds above are just echoes. Seaweed tickles your toes, and the salt dries on your skin like tiny snowflakes from the first snow of winter—little specks, reminding you of what is to come.
The laughter of a baby—yours or not—is laughter that embeds itself in your memory for a lifetime. Laughter so pure, so innocent. Big grin. Knitted hat. Socks so small they could fit three of your fingers, fingers so small they barely make up one knuckle, knuckles so small they almost disappear in the whirlwind of it all. New life, born from existing life. New life, in and of itself.
Do you have a favorite sweatshirt? A favorite pair of pajama pants? A favorite pair of socks even? Think of the comfort they drench you in. Think of the ways they make you feel whole, even when the world is anything but. Think of how sad you would be without them—how alone you’d feel, how much you’d miss the little comforts they provide… You are the favorite socks of the ones who love you. You provide big comfort. Little comfort. You.
There has never been a time I haven’t seen a dog and not smiled. There has never been a time when the thought, “what a good pup!” didn’t cross my mind, or a time I didn’t appreciate being licked in the face, even for a moment, despite how often I push them off. The moments a dog has pawed me in the arm to pet it more, balled up next to me on a couch, buried its head in my lap, or even stopped for a moment to let me rub its fuzzy ears.
The crowd erupts around you in loud bursts, and the energy seeps in through your skin, through your pores. You feel the adrenaline in your veins. Your favorite band, a winning touchdown pass, the victory of a moment fought for. You feel the vibrations in your feet. You feel. And it might be only for a moment; it might be for several moments; but either way, you feel. And it feels good.
Waking up from a good dream in the middle of the night. Falling asleep with a smile on your face. Opening your eyes and feeling the comfort of the room around you—feeling like the center of such a small world, even though the world is so big. Clean sheets. Freshly made beds. The smell of dryer sheets on pillowcases.
Have you ever taken a bite of food so good that, for a moment, it’s the only thing you want to taste for the rest of your life? The way cheesecake melts on your tongue, the way a good steak falls apart, the way a mug of hot chocolate heats your body all the way to the tips of your fingers and your toes? Think of all the goodness in good food. Find peace in appreciation.
So what if you don’t graduate. Who cares if you never want to get married, or never want to have kids, or never buy your own house. Who cares if you don’t make a six-figure salary, or if your face isn’t on the front of a magazine, much less a business card. Your success, your worth is not defined through any of these. There are pictures to take, experiences to live, moments to dance. There are books to read, trips to travel, footprints to imprint in the ground. Your footprints. There are traditions to keep, traditions to make, people to meet, dreams to dream. There are mornings—every morning, for that matter—to wake up. And when you do, take a second to notice the sunrise. It’s coming up with you, for you. Let it hug you for once. Accept the warmth. Accept the comfort. Embrace this life.