Our cave has a nice little covered mouth, offering a perfect mix of shade and sun, breezes and outdoor noises. It’s warmer than the interior of the cave these days, but not too warm, a few feet away from our music collection, only steps from the fridge, and I’ve yet to meet a mosquito out there.
I took my new e-reader and a copy of Me Before You by JoJo Moyes out there this weekend, and what an experience that was.
We also went walking on river trails, got caught up on the news, watched some Frasier reruns, and had a spirited disagreement over brunch out on a patio with a friend. But mostly we had plenty of time just to be—to be together, and alone, to be on autopilot; to think and feel rather than do; a vacation without going away. (It’s always cheaper that way.)
For some, aimless, unstructured time and solitude is heaven; they can’t get enough of it. Others find it flat, boring, lonely, something to avoid. I think we need connection with ourselves to enjoy it.
I don’t think we were born feeling abandoned or alone. I think we were born ready for joy and connection with others and ourselves, but learned, through any number of ways, not to pursue it. We might have learned that it is selfish and wrong to pursue joy, or that it is out of reach anyhow (and logical to give up our pursuit of it quickly), or that we never need to put effort into pursuing it because someone else has always done it for us.
But I’ve always believed that growing up involves understanding how it is that joy in its many forms—achievement of our goals, intimacy, peace with ourselves in solitude—might elude us. I think it involves reminding ourselves that we do in fact have within us what we need to tolerate sorrow or disconnection from others at times, but also to successfully reach for joy and intimacy again and again, no matter what we learned as children.
Me Before You has a little to do with this, though it is about so, so much more, and a powerful reminder to live fully and joyfully. It is an excellent way to spend part of a weekend if you’re hungry for a read that engages your emotional side of your brain as much as your logical one.