If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me how calm I am, I'd stop shopping the clearance racks at Gap and sighing as I replace anything with a tag over 19.99. I'd be wearing stuff that's BRAND NEW! JUST IN! Everybody's gotta have it. Full price queen. The girl all the salespeople want to help. That would be me.
But nope, no dollars poking out of my back pocket for my calmness factor. Instead, as I'm sitting here ruminating on my day, I have begun to think that I might like to trade up all my calmness for a little joy. Because I really want to feel joy, and I have a suspicion the calmness gets in joy's way. I have this suspicion that my level feelings are a hindrance to the necessary high that lets joy flood in. I want something to be really excited about, even if it's nothing that exciting, and I want to feel that joy in anticipation swelling up in my throat like a bright yellow balloon, swelling so large it reflects a bit of its shine onto my face. And when I am in the moment, when the anticipation is done and the good thing is happening now, I want to feel the electric rush of joy jangling its way down my nerves, all the way down to my fingers, toes, to the ridges and hollows of my ears, to the ends of each hair.
Is this an impossible wish? We wrote about emotions today in one of my English classes, and I shared my desire for joy with my students. One of them suggested that those who feel joy best are children. So they suggested I should throw off the heavy mantle of adulthood (my words, here, not theirs) and do something really crazy, let myself find my inner child. They suggested taking my life into my hands, risking death. I'm sure they were imagining me bungee jumping, cliff diving, hot rodding, riding a bronco.
I'm thinking that maybe I don't need to get quite that close to Death--I don't need to see the whites of his eyes to find my joy. But going back to childhood and throwing off my adult self: now that's an idea.
So for the rest of this evening, as I'm getting ready for bed, I'm going to think about where I might be a little less staid and a little more silly. Somewhere in that middle ground, I'm hoping a pocket of joy might be waiting for me.