Thursday, May 17, 2012

Looking for the Next High

Does growing older have the power to dull feelings?

I've been asking myself this question a lot lately. For the past year or so, I've been trying to look for the "next high" -- that moment of euphoria, that flood of excitement, that amazing sense of wide-eyed wonder.

First Time
I've been trying to get that beautiful feeling of a "first time" -- that moment when as a pre-schooler you step into your first museum or the first time you see lion up close in a zoo and you'r washed with this inexplainable happiness at the joy of the experience.

That moment when as a twelve year old you were allowed by your parents for the first time to go to the mall with your friends unaccompanied. That moment in high school when your Dad first lent you the car and you drove around with your student license feeling like a total boss. Small moments that make you feel invincible.

That time when in college you were allowed to your first sleepover, or first out of town with friends. The moment when you first walk the streets of a foreign country and the idea of being not in the Philippines feels so surreal. Everything feels so new and I love how you just drown in the novelty of it all and it's like an altered reality.

That moment when you first step into Disneyland where everything is magical. As a 17-year old, I understood that it was all "staged" but there was this undeniable feeling of awe in my belly. My brain, for that moment, chose to shut off all rational adult explanations of why and how things work. Smehow I found it in me to just get lost in the experience, to feel that spring in my every step in the park, to savor that "kid" that I let lose with every picture with Mickey Mouse and friends. I miss that feeling.

That time when you felt responsible for another person's feelings because you care about them so much. That time when you went out of your way because a good friend needed you to be a friend and you both felt like real adults talking about money and careers and marriage and children. It's small moments that make you feel like you are breaking through.

Insulated Reality
Just lately I feel that I am not totally "feeling" things. It oddly seems like things are happening around me and it doesn't quite register. New "first times" are happenings but I oddly don't feel like I'm there. It's like I'm in a bubble and I'm insulated from the event, just selectively feeling the more palpable parts. It's like my brain has a vague idea of what is happening but I don't quite "get" the whole experience.

None of the raw, exciting wide-eyed wonder. None of the weird feelings in the tummy. None of happy feelings of novelty. Only a muted, barely there sensation, reminding me that this or that event is happening to me.

Next High?
So there is this He that is playing this staring game with me. The "me" two, three years ago would've had this screaming teenager inside my head, giddy and brimming with excitement at just that thought of this He. Not even because this He is playing the staring game but just the idea of this He.

The "me" now is not moved. And it's not because I don't want to be. I want to be moved! I want to feel that rush of excitement and have that screaming teenager run around my head to remind me how fun it is to be young and carefree.

The "me" now feels like just standing idly by, watching all these things happening. Yeah, it's cute He is playing this staring game but it's not waking up the screaming teenager in me. Yeah, it is putting to action some imagination muscles looking into some future time when He actually stops just staring and actually starts talking. But it doesn't feel like a jolt to the system, it doesn't feel like an unnatural thought able to disturb the peace and the steady of my adult thinking.

It's not that I don't want to be steady or stable or normal. I guess I'm just looking to feel -- to really, absolutely, indescribably feel. I want to feel alive. I want that next high.

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