being alone in ny

I almost started this journal off with the phrase, “for the first time in a long time…” — but I realize that’s not quite right. This has been a somewhat gradual process, an accumulation of being with HJ and living in China with not much to do and now being in New York, the city of my dreams since forever, and now being in it in a unique semi-optional but not permanent aloneness way.

Semi-gradually, I’m beginning to truly realize that life is more the day-to-day happy than the long-term happy, and perhaps that the long-term happy doesn’t exist at all; perhaps the long-term happy has always been nothing but something waved in front of me like a goading flag, always whipped away and out of reach as I think I’m charging towards it. And from there, I’m beginning to learn what makes me this kind of day-to-day happy, and furthermore to learn to actively search for what makes me this kind of happy.

I can bike for hours and be truly content. Rivers, the city, the late afternoon light is all somehow more beautiful on a bike. The wind is fresher. The rushing view is exhilarating. And I get the feeling — no, I’m not even aware of the feeling — that there’s nothing more in the world I could desire other than this: not people, not success, not friends, not family. I know this is fleeting, this encompassingly content state, born from a decent enough day of interactions and the security of the temporary solitude and HJ’s worldview, but the ephemeral nature of it doesn’t make it any less real, or any less sublime.

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Shooting stars

Band camp was fun, in general.

Really, my favorite part was after the campfire, when JL, CP, TI, ND, WB and I all just sat in our chairs, tipped our heads back, and looked at the stars…I never see stars back home, because of light pollution and all that, but out in the campgrounds, there were so many. And so gorgeous.

After a bit, WB and I, with JL and TI tagging along, went out in the grass and lay face up, looking for shooting stars. I’d never seen one. The sky is so big. Sometimes I forget.

WB and I talked about religion, life, I don’t know. I love talking to WB. We just talked for an hour. I spotted my first shooting star 🙂

Inevitably, other people crashed our party, and I ended up doing cartwheels and random handstands for a bit. After everyone’d settled down into a gossip fest (which I am so not into), I just continued by myself. I entertained myself for a bit by just doing 10 cartwheels in a row, falling over in dizziness, and gazing at the spinning stars and enjoying the feeling of spinning. I’m sure everyone thought I was crazy, off in the dark.

I lay on the grass and star gazed by myself for quite a bit. Just thinking, humming…

Inevitably, other people crashed my party. Out of pity or curiosity, I don’t know. But I ended up talking to MG for quite a bit – I’d never actually talked to him, and I was actually pretty surprised when I invited him to lie down next to me to point out a constellation, and he actually did. We talked, making up our own constellations and naming them. Just talked. I like him, actually. Easy to talk to.

After a bit, his friend JD crashed our party, and when MG left a bit later, JD stayed. And we talked, too.

And then I went over to JL and WB and the other big social group, and JL moved over and yelled at me to lie down so I did. And I had a bit of fun messing with MG, who was telling some story. And we looked at the stars.

Stargazing does crazy stuff to your personal boundaries.