1. The feeling of holding your newborn for the first time – Here, to help me imagine what it must be like, I think about my sisters holding the life they’ve just brought into world. And I think about the faraway glassy smile – part of that is the drugs – which lights their face. And I wonder what kind of life-altering feeling this must be. To hold your child for the first time, it must be one of the big reasons why we keep making those things. Even if our world could literally hold no more of us, we would keep doing it. That says a lot about what this must feel like.
2. The feeling of kissing your husband or wife on your wedding day – The first word that pops in my head here is “secure.” And happy, very happy, that this would be your life and that you would get to spend it with the person standing across from you. Of course, I’m assuming this a wedding filled with love. In an arrangement lacking such a feeling, this day would have to give a person a distinctly hollow feeling. One not of security, but of being trapped, the pit of dread letting you know you’re making a terrible mistake. So it seems your wedding day is capable of making you the happiest you’ll ever be, or, the saddest. I guess just roll the dice.
3. The feeling of proposing marriage or saying yes to a marriage proposal – A time must have existed when we went to a hut or a big field or did something primal in nature to communicate our promise of enduring companionship and support. But by evolution it seems we’ve escalated to where we plan elaborate betrothals. And I suppose it’s right we’ve gone this way, it must be exciting to plan and be a part of something like this, to commemorate the decision of moving forward in life with one person. Personally, I know a couple who’ve dated for almost six years and they are just now shopping for engagement rings. And so I imagine, when he, or she, finally does pop the question both of them will be granted a feeling of such great relief. Though maybe that’s not right. Or maybe that’s not the right example. For others, for those whom this comes as a surprise, a marriage proposal must be the greatest gathering of butterflies, all those insects fluttering about then flying out in a great rush to a new and limitless sky. Sounds a bit fanciful, I know, but the idea of asking one person to be with you for the rest of your life is just about the most amazingly outrageous (possibly in a good way) idea I can think of. Maybe being fanciful here is correct.
4. The feeling of holding your grandchild – Imagine growing up. Imagine overcoming obstacles through childhood and adolescence and young adulthood. Imagine going to college for five or eight years. Imagine finding a husband or a wife. Imagine getting married. Imagine going through jobs. Imagine getting better jobs through years of trying. Imaging buying a home. Imagine having children and raising them in that home. Imagine watching your children go through the same obstacles you did. Imagine that eventually they get on track. Imagine that each of them finds a husband or wife of their own. Imagine watching years go by. Imagine nearly 65 years on the earth for you and some 40 some years of growing together, then imagine this. Imagine the ones you brought into the world bringing others into the world. Imagine then, they hand to you a new life. Imagine another feeling like this? I don’t imagine it exists.
5. The feeling of telling off your boss – When I worked for a large package distribution company – hint, UPS – my ‘boss’ would scream at me and anyone else below me using expletives. I don’t say that to elicit sympathy. I only mention that to give context for a time I found myself matching every fuck he screamed with a fuck of my own. Though let me tell you, when this finally happened, it didn’t feel nearly as satisfying as I thought it would. And not until months later did I realize why. The problem was he had no power over me, and when we finished swearing at each other that night I knew I’d go back to work the very next morning. No, what I’m talking about here is saying the things you dream of saying when you dream of saying things to your real boss. All the things you’ve secretly thought, letting them all be released in one glorious rant. Then to just walk out the door and never come back. How bright the sun must be that afternoon. How high your soul must soar.
6. The feeling of having your heart broken – It’s a strange feeling, to have your heart truly broken. In the time after, it can seem like the world revolves only around you and that nothing will ever be right again. All you do is sleep. Maybe you can’t eat. Though on the other hand, you could find yourself glad. Because perhaps you know what it’s like to feel the worst feeling, that of not feeling anything at all. And so even if it’s awful, being heartbroken could be a nice reminder of being alive. And that can be a pretty good feeling.
7. The feeling of watching your child take his or her first step – Here I am in the front yard of the house in the country where I live as a boy. I am shirtless and wearing jeans but my fly is down and part of my diaper is peeking out above my waistline. I keep my balance by bracing myself on a toy plastic car. This photo, my mom tells me, captures some of my first steps. And I understand that taking a picture isn’t that big of a deal. However, in the mid 80s, it kind of was, so the fact that she would record these steps, well, this has to feel like something I haven’t known. But I think I’d like to. I think it’d make me feel as proud as I’ve ever felt, or ever will.
8. The feeling of being hated for no reason – I’m not going to get into here, if I’ve felt this or not. This feeling, maybe the worst feeling, should not be a competition. However, I do think it’d be best that no one would feel this. But, since that’s not happening any time soon, I’d rather everyone would. And I mean truly hated, unable to do things other people are able to do just because of how you are born hated. Much like required viewing, this should be required feeling.
9. The feeling of caring for your parents – My dad’s mom and dad are in a nursing home, and while that is a common part of modern life, that fact doesn’t seem to make it any easier. Though I can’t imagine much how harder it is for my dad. Still, I have to think a part of him loves his parents even more now. Moving into the caregiver role for someone who once cared for him would only, I imagine, unearth a very deep, sad, nostalgic, maybe even joyful, kind of feeling all at once.
10. The feeling of kissing the one you’re in love with – In theory, you’ll feel this before you get married (assuming you’re not Joshua Harris). Here, no procedure or formality steer your emotions. It’ll just suddenly hit you, the one you’re kissing is the only person in the world you would want to kiss. I bet that’s probably pretty ok.