Something strange and amazing happened to me one night last week: I was too happy to sleep.
It felt like a snow day.
That might be something that not a lot of you understand since it doesn’t really snow here, but, as a kid in New Jersey, there was nothing as thrilling as the thought that school might be cancelled for snow.
Once it starts snowing, you turn on the TV and wait for your school district to scroll across the bottom of the screen. My mom and I would be glued to it like it was the latest episode of “City Confidential.” (We watched a lot of crime shows. No wonder I’m the crime reporter.) If this went on too long and surrounding districts had already announced their closures, we would get angry – how could we be the only ones with school?!? Then we would grow confident – of course we won’t have school.
It seemed like my school was always last to announce its closure, but maybe it just felt like that since we wanted it so badly.
My mom was completely complicit in snow day excitement. Who wouldn’t want extra time with me?
Then, once we knew it was a snow day (yay!), we would stay up late or get up early – earlier than even a school day – and go to Wawa for snacks. The day was spent lounging around, eating junk food and watching TV. We would be lazy and we would be together without any stress or responsibility. Kid heaven.
That’s the feeling I had last week, just a month after my most recent break-up.
It hit me after midnight just as I was trying to go to sleep. All of a sudden I got a burst of energy – excited energy. It felt as if my lungs were blasted with oxygen. I felt relief and joy and couldn’t stop smiling. I let myself feel it, I sat with it, just enjoying it for a moment. Then, to try to get some energy out and document the moment, which felt miraculous, I wrote a few poems.
By 1:29 a.m. the energy was still there. The only thing missing from my snow day was my mom, so I texted her:
“I’m happy,” I said.
“I needed to tell someone. More than happy, I’m full of joy and excitement and I know that life is going to be good. God, it’s good.”
In my third text I told her that I loved her and that I would talk to her later. Then she called me.
The two of us talked for more than an hour, reminiscing about those winter days in Gloucester City – the place of our convenience store adventures – and how good it was that I finally pulled the trigger on that relationship. It turned out that I wasn’t the only one relieved.
When we hung up the phone, I was content. I was at peace. And, I realized, I’m already living my bliss.
The best part is, though, that this ineffable joy wasn’t attached to any one thing – not a job, not a man, not a vacation or new pair of shoes. No, this happiness was simply coming from inside me and I just knew that everything would not only be OK, but that it is-and-will-be wonderful.
And it’s about damn time.