I had a peculiar thing happen yesterday: I had a really great day.
That sounds like I’m trying to infer that I don’t normally have good days, but yesterday was really great. Harrisburg on the Hunt, a mass treasure hunt experience I created with a friend, had its inaugural hunt, with 14 teams at the start (two teams ended up dropping out. But I still consider that good odds). It was a nerve-wracking but exhilarating experience, and we got a lot of great feedback, including constructive, which I always wish people would be more willing to give. The hope is to take that feedback, polish up our clues, and do another route sometime in the near future.
It was great to watch people enjoying something that I’d helped to create. That is the beauty of art, really. Because yes, damn it, puzzles can be counted as an art.
And the team from the Hershey Perplex Escape Room competed, and we had a really great conversation with them. It was a great time geeking out with people about puzzles.
After, we grabbed dinner and went to an all-women stand-up show that some friends hosted, and then continued the night at a piano bar. The company was great, and the high from the hunt continued late into the night.
It was such a great day. There was one thing that tried to tamper with my experience, and that was that I had my first alcoholic drink in about a month (I feebly attempted Sober September, and ended a little early to celebrate the hunt).
My body was not happy with me for drinking beer. My stomach got all bubbly, and my chest got a little bit tight (which was probably just anxiety from my stomach’s reaction). But it didn’t matter. I didn’t want to leave and sleep it off, because I was having such a great time.
So despite my body wanting to drag me down, I had one of those magical 24 hours which result in my mind gushing genuine love for the people around me. It’s a hard feeling to describe, because I always worry if it will sound creepy to people, but there are moments when you just feel really good about being in the company of individuals, even if nothing significant is happening in those moments, simply because of who they are. Those experiences are moments of clarity, when you think too much about how life works and about how those around you are people with minds and thoughts that you can’t access, and it feels bizarre and wonderful to connect with them by just being in their presence. A privilege, really – to be with people that you feel good about for no other reason than that they are them.
That’s the feeling I felt. And no amount of bubbly stomach was going to take that from me. It did make me quiet down a bit toward the end, and I only hope that people didn’t misconstrue that quietness as boredom or uncomfortableness, because I just wanted to stay and talk and be for as long as possible.
But, after the fact, I start analyzing everything and ruining it in my head, and thinking about the fact that I get those feelings a lot after I feel I’ve “earned” them. There was a moment as I fell asleep last night that I was feeling that high of the accomplishment of the hunt, which really is an accomplishment, but it was a weird feeling to then realize that maybe that’s why I felt so lovey towards my friends. My brain thinks, I’ve done something great, so now my friendships have validity – it’s the idea that I’ve earned people’s love, and that only when I accomplish something do I deserve to feel that high and experience my friends that way.
I should feel that way about people all the time… Which I guess I do on some level, because I love my friends dearly, but it’s more of a fearful, “I love you even if you may not love me back” feeling. But this was an “I love you and I don’t care if you love me back because I’ve earned this feeling and I’m fine with just feeling it because you’re here” feeling. Lots of feelings, sorry.
But I don’t know how I feel about earning my friendship. I’ve had conversations with friends lately who feel like they don’t contribute enough to the world, they don’t do artsy things like their friends do, and I couldn’t wrap my brain around what they were saying because I didn’t care that they didn’t do those things, I just knew that I valued them as a friend. The epitome of who they are, as walking, talking human beings, makes me love them. But then turning it around on myself, I have that hypocritical standard: what makes me worth other people’s friendship? How can I be a good friend? What can I do to not lose those around me?
I want to take that hypocrisy out of my life. I want so badly to do things because I like doing them, not so I can earn love from my friends. And I want to be able to have those magical moments at all times, not just conditionally. Maybe all of us feel the need to earn people’s love at one point or another, and maybe that feeling helps us push forward to do great things. But it would be nice if we could just all genuinely love each other and know that about each other, that we can be loved without condition. It doesn’t just have to be religion that touts that idea of unconditional love, maybe it can be found within ourselves and the people around us. It is a pretty terrifying concept, though.
I know that sounds extremely stupid and cheesy, and you’re probably only ever going to associate me from now on with sticker decals of rainbows and peace signs. But it’s something I’m thinking about.