I am so much happier, so much more well-adjusted than I once was, so much more hopeful and able to dream than at any other point in my life, but there is an urgency that starts ticking away now in the wee hours, an urgency that is stuck to my waxing sense of mortality and the speed of time, and I feel a greater and greater need to make these connections. How did I get here from there? Why were more than twenty-five years so unhappy? Am I merely on a honeymoon with middle age? Will I find myself there again for another twenty-five, dark and foundering?
I am at the happiest point to date in my life at thirty-eight, and yet I lie awake worried that the past will find me. It will point me out and say This Is Not The Real You.
There were, of course, happy moments in my childhood, but most of them seem lumped into the time before I was five. After that, a deep and keening sadness crept in, as though I were mourning the passage of all things, because all things were always passing. I lay awake at night then, too, but filled with a pain I couldn't shake, and I would panic silent scream into my pillow, because being alive was inescapable. There was nowhere to go with what I felt.
That wasn't all there was, of course. There were sprinklers on the lawn and digging toes into the beach sand in summer and hollowed out snow forts in winter and getting lost inside books, but all of it was touched with the sad and terribly anxious undercurrent that none of this was mine, that I did not belong here.
And now I am happy, and yet here I sit in the wee hours of a Wednesday morning trying to draw lines down from then to now. How did I come to be here? Will I somehow be made to go back there? I worry that I am out on a day pass. I think that if I can find another way to look at my history, if I can just tilt it a bit to the left and change my perspective, I will be able to shake more happiness out of it, and that maybe, if I squint hard enough, I will finally fix the records and be granted release.