Let yourself enjoy it.
I lingered over coffee and watched the light. I did nothing with my time. It felt still and luxurious. Some little thought nagged at me-- "I should apologize for this." Or, "I should justify this." "This relaxation will produce some later writing. Or it will prompt an idea. For work."
Because everything is work.
I know people who won't share the joy in their life. If they take a vacation, they keep it quiet to not seem to brag, or to not seem to ignore the problems of the world.
Post-empire Portugal reminded me that it all ends. Enjoy it.
I lingered over coffee in cafes with reminders of Portugal's one time power. I'm not trying to romanticize nor justify that power but it was there. Influence and wealth that seemed permanent. I sat in the ruins of Portuguese power watching my birth place, the United States, dissolve in its own pool of unrestrained grasping. For awhile now I've been reading historians who chart the US rise and fall of power and comparing it to other fallen empires, like that of Rome for example. Many signals point to those of us living in the US living through it's decline. The future will confirm which prophets got it right.
We know that some people survive empire's collapse. Portugal is an example of that. What is life like after empire?
There is so much I love about Portugal. One big piece: enjoy it.
It's a very European attitude to prioritize one's life potentially more than one's work. The United States tends to produce the opposite affect: work justifies your life.
Again and again, we learned Portuguese history of slave trade, navel power, colonization, conquest, without apology. The monks who sought to atone, the Templar Knights who avenged the church, the white knuckled explorers sailing uncharted seas. Their descendents pour coffee and live in the ruins. They live in life's inevitable cycle. And they do not apologize for their joy.
I often wonder about that-- why do we have to hide our joy? Does our joy exacerbate another's suffering? Is my suffering soothed by other's shared suffering? Isn't the cycle about the whole of it? Do we get to have capacity to allow ourselves it all?
Not all of us gets to travel. I readily acknowledge the realities of privilege and access.
We all get range. Within our experiences, there is a range of feeling and experience.
I want to live it all. I'm not going to apologize for it.
I wish you all the experiences. I wish you thrills, sunsets, late nights with friends. I wish you the big mile stone moments and the small gentle ones. And I don't need your apologies. Your existence entitles you to it all.