In Which I Remember the Sheer Enjoyment (Gasp) of Enjoyment



Photo by me, an Instagram artist of the highest caliber.

I’ve returned to a few old haunts in the last 48 hours and they’ve reminded me that the past (despite its bad rap) can pull you forward if you give it more than a sliver of chance. None of these experiences were productive in the currently trending kill-yourself-to-have-it-all sense, and so my actual desire to do them had to be seduced out of me with heavy verbal-petting. By which I mean, I had to glance backwards at who I was pre-masochistic-era, and remember what it is that I actually fucking enjoy.

What I enjoy is walking aimlessly around a department store with my best friend, using an upcoming wedding she has to attend as an excuse, essentially, to just be together, blatantly ignoring eager salespeople, exchanging judgments (most cynical) without the need to even open our mouths, and convulsing over expensive, entirely impractical furs. It reminded me that the aimless embrace of consumerism is not, in fact, without its merits, and that to enjoy it is not worthy of a spanking. To achieve nothing other than feeling incredibly known by another human, in all your pimply-I-just-came-from-therapy ways, is not a waste of my time, but one of those totally banal-at-first-glance flickers I’m likely to remember most as the curtain drops.

What I enjoy is spending a Saturday outside of the gym, actually looking around at this smelly labyrinth instead of just sprinting through it with my eyes on some elusive, eternally-unsatisfying prize. Yesterday that meant waking up slow, mildly hungover and puffy-faced but without the residual shame, and giving what the olds call a “dilly-dally” my full weight. It was an exercise in not doing anything of note as I inched towards a plan for the day whose appeal my inner-dictator has all but suppressed. That revealed itself to be seeing 45 Years at IFC with a not-awful maleguy of the romantic variety, post-movie drinks, and too many more drinks (and delicious, non-rabbit food) at my home-away-from-home with some family. And though the pleasantness of it all tried to render itself overindulgence many times in my brain, I succeeded, for a few hours at least, in ignoring its attempts.

It was an unfinished crossword puzzle of a day, a day for some books, perhaps, but not all—and it was great. It tapped into old feelings and old versions of me that deserve some more attention, and not just of the navel-gazing blog post variety, but the IRL sort. It was me in high school, exchanging anxieties with pals over coffee frozen-yogurt in the Bloomingdale’s basement instead of studying for some test—because sixteen-year-old me had her priorities in pretty good disorder, taking the A’s when she could but not hustling for them on a barren sidewalk. It was also me in college, walking through Brooklyn before it was Brooklyn, a little bloated but not aware of it, just hoping to find a decent book and a faux-fur coat that wound render me cool.

It was average-level insecurity, not insecurity-is-the-only-way. A full-fat day, and not by way of nutrients, but the simple fact that it filled me up instead of leaving me (having checked all stringent boxes) hollowed out and groveling for more.

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