Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Own Bliss List

Recently, I read this great post on Abbey Goes Design Scouting on this thought-provoking editorial in Cook's Illustrated. It's about moments of "absolute and perfect happiness -- one of the ten to twelve that comprised a whole life, and was possibly even the meaning of it."

I couldn't help but wonder, what -- so far in my life, anyway -- are those moments for me. Here's a start.

It's a golden summer morning in the field near my friends' front yard. The four of us -- my sister and I and our two neighbors -- must all be under the age of five. We're wearing dresses and clutching butterfly nets. And in this perfect morning of pure childhood we're running through the field, hair streaming behind us, chasing butterflies that float along, paying no mind to these wild girls inhabiting the grasses with them.

Christmas has never felt more perfect than this holiday morning at my dad's parents' house. They've just opened a Victorian B&B, which on this day is filled not with guests but just our big, crazy family. On this snowy gray morning, my sister and I get to knock, room by room, on everyone's doors, announcing that it's Christmas -- finally! -- and we should all come down for breakfast and gifts.

A gaggle of pre-teen girls is lounging on my parents' living room floor. We've got mattresses, pillows, blankets and stuffed animals strewn about. We're wearing T-shirt and stretch pants, braces and glasses. We're full of giggles and gossip and stories. We share our deepest fears and our most hidden hopes. We don't know what will happen in the next days or next years but we have the comforting feeling that we're in it together.

It's my first trip to Europe, with my mom and dad and sister. I'm struck with how different everything feels even though things aren't that different. The four of us -- the fam -- are sitting at an outdoor cafe in Paris. My sister and I are ordering our first cappuccino, which we feel incredibly grown-up drinking, even though we plop in countless sugar cubes to make it taste more like hot chocolate.

We're in Australia, years later, and it's a summer of growing up for me. I learn things and experience things that were unknown to me just weeks before. Life is full of discoveries and as I lie on a blanket in the outback with a group of others, watching shooting stars and listening to someone strum a guitar, I'm on the brink of becoming a new person, perhaps the person I'm meant to be.

My closest girlfriends and I are in Mexico. We're about to graduate high school and there's a palpable sense that we won't always have these times together. We're so alive, dancing in a crowded, booming club. Where's our self-consciousness? Where are our cares? They're not with us now while we're moving and laughing, feeling beautiful and free.

It's my first year of college and I'm walking downtown. It's an early date with the man who will become my husband. He reaches for my hand, like it's the most natural thing in the world, and really it is. I feel exhilarated, full of butterflies and I can't wait to learn more about this person.

We're at my grandparents' table, my mom's parents who have this incredible knack for bringing everyone together. Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, my sister, her boyfriend, my boyfriend, me -- we're all here, like we've been so many times before. We're telling stories, drinking cheap gin and spumante, laughing so hard. It's nothing special but it couldn't be more special.

We're in San Francisco, my husband and I. We've started our new life as a married couple, complete with a cross-country move. We're at a dark, cozy bar at the top of a tall building in our new city. It's cold outside and we sit at our little table looking out at the lights and talking about our plans and dreams.

It's an afternoon this past fall. The air is crisp and the leaves are just starting to turn. The brilliant sunshine warms our backs as my huband and I take our dog for a walk by the lake. We're full of gratitude because we know we don't need anything more than this.

Photo from here.

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