Ordinary Evanescence

I STILL LOVE you, Japan. I fucking love you. I don’t wanna leave you — not yet. A chapter is turning. It’s scary, but also so incredibly exciting. Caught up thinking about the future, but what about right here?

Right now?

The city’s cast in shadow.

Faraway buildings cling to the last of the sunlight. I stand in the street, admiring this lively neighborhood of Osaka, wishing the light wouldn’t fade, for when it does the day has nearly finished.

I don’t want it to end — this chapter, this evening.

This moment feels too good.

We forget how good it is — a blue sky — until it turns dark and cold. It’s something we can’t stop, but can open our eyes to perceive more deeply:

Ordinary evanescence.

Unable to fathom life, I inhale again, and again, and again. My body’s bereft of pain. The entirety of my being feels as if floating in elation, brought upon by nothing more than continuous, encouraging thought.

I’m twenty-eight years old, standing on the curb outside one of my favorite cafes in Osaka, Japan, where I’m working on my book about my travels through Portugal and Italy.

In the book I come to a revelation which elucidates my present state:

Unfortunately it may take pain, troubling news, a seemingly insurmountable challenge or rattling experience to make us appreciate ordinary life.

It can be so good.

Another day passes and the world hasn’t changed, for coffee tastes the same and the air’s crisp in autumn; love’s still imperfect and tires still deflate; flowers die with passing time — there’s music in the sidewalk chatter.

However, when we return from a place of discomfort, pain or fear, when we overcome, ordinary life ceases to be just another day but another chance to live.

What is ordinary?

Perhaps, our day-to-day lives. Yet I can seldom comprehend my day-to-day life.

We need friction, the drive, the push, the discomfort to expand our horizons and become all we’re meant to be. And now I’m here. It’s been over a year in Japan and I can hardly believe it.

I’m learning, I’m growing. I still battle every day, just as we all do in our own ways. What my challenges have given me is an inexhaustible gratitude for simple moments like this where everything is just… extraordinary.

Lost in the promise of a fading blue sky after days of steady rain; nourished by a breath of fresh air, the words of a friend, after a season of pain.

Life will always provide problems, discomforts, unexpected difficulties. If it isn’t, maybe it’s time we create our own healthy and productive challenges.

Maybe it’s time we take a chance, and go for it.

While navigating the stormy seas of existence we may cherish the gentler moments, the serenity of peaceful waves; the ebbing and flowing of the sun and moon; the sweetness in the every day.

We can decide to appreciate exactly where we are, even if it seems lacking, even if it seems insurmountable.

Where we are won’t be forever.

We mustn’t go to Mars to recognize the miracle of Earth; we mustn’t hit rock bottom or have our life turned upside down to feel profound love, merely existing.

Ordinary life is beautiful and it’s fleeting.

I open my eyes to see it, grasp it, before it fades completely with an evanescent sun beyond a city cast in shadow, setting my soul ablaze.

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