So I was going through old email more at work today, dumping over 50K of them today. It was weird in places. In the early days I did use my work email for personal stuff more. I'd forgotten some things about old interactions with friends, and tho I'd remembered how affectionately my old gf and I behaved toward each other most of the time, it was still pretty weird reading off-handedly loving words, phrases, subtext, and having a sense of that time of regular, steady mutual affection arise in me again. I was pretty cursory, generally, in the glancing through of years of messages, but so many little things popped up here and there; all the specifics and flavors and people and engagement that grabbed me made for, among other feelings, a real awareness of how long a life I've had in that job, and how many little lives I've lived there, and while there.
I stopped at the library on the way home, picked up some books, and sat there and read all 4 essays in Oliver Sacks's last little volume, Gratitude. In the last of those essays, right before the end, in the next-to-last sentence of them all, he says:
melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly,
not on the supernatural or spiritual but on
what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life---
achieving a sense of peace within oneself.
And now, after eating pasta with a thrown-together two-mushroom sauce, one cat next to me on the lid of a big rubber tub, the emotional wind still not quite recovered after a strange mini-gut-punch that knocked it half outta me just before I started this post, I find my thoughts, after typing Oliver's words, wondering how far along I've come in that project myself--- achieving a sense of peace within myself. And I wonder, too: does such a thing, arrived at eventually, truly make a life good and worthwhile?