When I was a little kid, I used to get upset when my brother would fall asleep before I did the night before a big trip or Christmas or something I was excited about. Because, I thought, if he fell asleep before me, he would get to experience that exciting event before I did since time would move faster for him while he slept. And all I wanted to do was get to that exciting moment as fast as possible.
When I was a kid, I was goofy like this. I fully bought into and embraced my inner excitement. I didn’t care who knew that I was excited about a thing.
Sometime in my posturing, self-conscious teen years, I gave up embracing my own excitement in exchange for a constant cool, faux-repose. God help me if anyone knew I either cared about or was excited by anything. The most important first principle was to be indifferent to all things followed closely by always being armed to sardonically destroy any perceived uncool event or thing with a litany of allegedly humorous ad hominems.
Then, in college, I started to shed my cool, broken shell. Throughout that metamorphosis, I pushed through my awkward turning with lies, jokes, and self-doubt. But, throughout that painful growth, I saw glimpses of real happiness and excitement just as I had experienced as a child. And I found some friends who would encourage and participate in my joy with me.
After college, I had some scars from the tentacles of my too-cool teenager past. I found myself still biting back hard at some stuff that excited others just because my reflexes were built on the defensive. I was still trying too hard. I was still not fully owning my joy and excitement, but I was growing and changing and learning still.
Then, I met Alexi and we became friends. She inspired me to live life excited because she never cared what other people thought of what she was up to–she embraced her joy.
Eventually, Alexi and I started to date. And I fell in love with her. Because she was pure joy chased with excitement.
Over the course of a year with Alexi, I felt myself grow lighter and life easier. Because she was pure joy chased with excitement.
She was road trips singing along to all those songs we know and impromptu baseball games and eating homemade dinners on balconies and long walks talking about extended family history. She made life such an easy little thing.
Then, tragedy struck my family. And Alexi was there too. And she was more than joy and excitement. She was strength and comfort. And she was there.
And I think now about how excited I feel when I get to see her. Whether it’s just a FaceTime call before bed or getting to pick her up from the airport, seeing Alexi gives me the Christmas morning joy I felt as a kid all the time.
And, what’s even better, I am over pretending that my joy doesn’t excite me. Because she does every single day.
I’m a goofy guy all over again. And I’m okay with that. Because I like living my life excited. When I live like this, I see light in everyone and in everything–even in my darkest hours. And I’m cool with everyone knowing that I am really into my joy.