Moments Where You Feel Something

I lost the capacity to cry for about 10 years, between ages 34 and 44. Didn’t cry when I got divorced or when my mom died. Just forgot how, I think. I’m obsessed with business, am hugely stressed over it and wrap way too much of my identity and self-worth around professional success. But I’ve never cried because of business. And, trust me, there has been good reason several (hundred) times. However, since my mid-forties, something strange: I. Cry. All. The. Time.

Pretty sure it’s a good thing. Sorrowful crying is looking to the past with sadness, or to the future with dread. Crying as a result of happiness is a response to a moment as if it’s eternal; the person is frozen in a blissful, immortalized present. My tears lately (thankfully) have been the latter as I slow down and pursue moments. Moments with friends, moments trying to freeze time with my kids, and (mostly) feeling very in the moment watching movies and TV. At least a third of the episodes of Modern Family get me weepy, and something about being on a plane turns me into a chocolate mess. (Note: do not watch the movie Gleason on a plane.) I also choke up in class more often, in front of 120 kids in their late twenties. I used to feel embarrassed and tell myself I need to keep it together. But as we get older we become more like ourselves, and I’m getting more comfortable with raw emotions and the potential collateral damage. I’ve earned it.

As you get older, and begin to register the finite time we have, you want to freeze time, and have moments where you feel something. Depression isn’t feeling sad, but feeling nothing. Crying, especially in the company of, or thinking about loved ones, feels healthy and joyous. I well up just thinking about it.

The preceding was from Friday’s post by Scott Galloway, one of my favorite academics. Scott’s a professor at NYU. He’s the total package: smart, insightful, high achieving (i.e., hard working) and funny as hell. More professors should strive to be like Scott.

But it’s what he wrote about moments that interested me this morning.

“Crying as a result of happiness is a response to a moment as if it’s eternal; the person is frozen in a blissful, immortalized present,” Scott wrote.

He added, “As you get older, and begin to register the finite time we have, you want to freeze time, and have moments where you feel something. … Crying, especially in the company of, or thinking about loved ones, feels healthy and joyous. I well up just thinking about it.”

Today is a moment for feeling something. Some people will feel hope. This is a day when they observe a resurrection: unconditional, courageous, sacrificial love and the triumph of good over evil.

Most people don’t believe it actually happened. They think it’s simply a story. But whether it happened or not, the moments are real. Hope is real. Sacrifice is real. True love is real.

Vera, your grandmother and I will be spending time with friends today. They’re very special to us. They helped fill our time in Colorado, which is coming to an end, with many moments of feeling. In less than three weeks, we’ll be leaving Colorado, and we won’t be seeing them much. So today is a very special day. I suspect there will be more moments.

I have to confess that I’ve been a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to hold it together when we part. Professor Galloway reminded me I’ve earned the right to live in the moment and not worry about perceptions of others. I may cry.

Feeling something should never be trivialized. I know what it’s like to feel nothing. It makes you truly appreciate the moments of feeling something. Crying becomes an incredibly healthy and joyous experience.

Whether people believe in the resurrection or not, I hope today is a day of moments of feeling something. If it were, I think Jesus would be very happy. And probably cry tears of joy.

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