A dear friend of mine from college days (we won’t detail how many years ago that was) emailed me nearly out of the blue. He didn’t ask “How’s life?” He asked, “What’s good with you?” And I can see his dreads bouncing in nuanced rhythm to what he’s asking. This is a deep fellow. A smart fellow. The kind of fellow you can cut to the chase with, whether or not he agrees with you; the kind of fellow who naturally speaks like his words rhyme, even if they don’t. The sway of intonation creates syllabic resonance. He’s a smooth dude. A cool, but severely deep, cat. His heart beats poetic.
So when he asks me, “What’s good?” I take that question, and its discreteness from “How is life?” seriously.
In answering, I found myself noticing how my appreciation of what is “good” has evolved—not just over the years, but also over circumstances, and also, of course, how the two of those collaborate in making out the story of what is a life.
What is good with me?
I earnestly started the list: and upon re-reading it, I found that everything that I named was “good” was something deeply flawed. These were the things I no longer felt tension about; no longer had a “well, if only….” about; no longer had an “if” or “when” or “I can’t wait for!” about. They were the things I had previously approached in those ways, and now revel in the relief that I don’t. They are now unveiled. The good, now, is not as it was when I was ambitious and younger in this life. The good now, is where I am not those things. Where satisfaction is marbled by wear, tear, experience, and the shedding of anticipation. What the Japanese call, Wabi-Sabi. That’s what’s good, my friend. And I was surprised at that. Thank you for pointing my vision there.