One of the joys of youth is the ability to abandon oneself to the moment. To “have an experience” is different from “experiencing.” Being experienced—an advantage of middling, or middle, age—allows for tempered reflection before making the decision to have another experience.
We stand, poised at the entryway of whatever adventure lies before us, calculating or overcoming fears, estimating the cost and time involved, weighing risks versus rewards, and so on.
But at some point there needs to be a reengagement with the completely unreasoned and unreasonable voice of youth. It’s the voice that says, “What abyss? I’m leaping into joy.”
And what is joy?
Joy is not something we possess. We are filled with joy. And that does not mean having an experience of joy, but experiencing joy.
For some, like my dear Jessica, whose teeth marks are on the cake pictured above, joy is what she calls “chocolately deliciousness.” For Jess, the empty white plate represents joy fulfilled.
For others, like me, joy is a blank white piece of paper (or computer screen) and another gloriously terrifying opportunity to leap once again into writing. It is the advent of joy, because even though writing is arduous—sometimes to the point of torture—writing is also always bliss.