I’m a big fan of naps. In the summer, I love nothing more than passing out on the couch with a book, and sleeping passively with the sound of a lawnmower churning off somewhere in the distance. In the winter, I sometimes turn the fireplace on in the early evening and close my eyes on the couch. I don’t sleep long usually. 30 minutes sometimes, maybe an hour. Usually just long enough for the world to slowly dissolve into a dream. And in that brief moment when I wake up, sometimes it briefly feels like I’m in another place, or another time in my life. I’m often reminded how the smell of fresh grass can bring back fond memories of childhood, those long days spent on bicycles or playing in the sand. How the smell of perfume can bring back the memories of an old girlfriend, and the smell of the surf the memories of a long day once spent on the beach.
Lately when I wake up, I’m reminded of certain moments in my past. Some good, some bad, the ebb and flow of happiness drifting in and out of my life. I remember finally taking hold of some of my health problems when I was 27, and managing to waste myself away down to 175 lbs in a few short months. I remember meeting a girl once and falling in love. I remember days on the beach, of laughter, a pail of nachos in the sand. I remember the feeling of walking out of my master’s defense, and the day I limped triumphantly past the 75 km marker of the West Coast Trail.
And then sometimes when I wake up, I remember when it broke, and the pieces of it as they slipped away. I remember being in the hospital for several days with pneumonia. I remember catching a super bug, and spending a few years feeling under the weather. I remember waking up next to someone I no longer knew, and the long draining months spent pretending to be happy. I remember that plate glass window shattering around me, the subsequent surgeries in the hospital, and the weeks after I spent staring up at the ceiling in a dark bedroom. I remember the phone call that was never answered, and the visit at the hospital that never came. I remember marching to work each day in the rain to a job I didn’t enjoy, and heading back each evening to an apartment that never really felt like home.
Home is where the heart is, so they say. If that’s the case, then many of us in houses are really homeless, left to wander, searching through the trash here and there for something to make the dark a little less cold, the emptiness a bit more bearable. The wedding this weekend reminded me what true love is. It’s the hug that’ll cure what words sometimes cannot do. It’s that person who makes you feel happy even when you’re blue. It’s that nap on the couch that’s better when it’s two. It’s a week of squash when other food might do.
Life is short, something I’ve realized all too well these last few years. In what little time we’re given we can only do the best we can with the time. As for me, I sometimes hear that distant click of the clock ticking away, and it makes me sad, not because I mind getting older, but mainly because I still feel like I have lots I want to do, and someone great I ultimately want to share it all with. So while this year was spent getting myself grounded, next year will be spent putting all the broken pieces back together and moving on.