Infinite joys of San Francisco: an ode to being alive



Cycling to witness the sunset near Napa, suburban California (20th August 2017)

9th September 2017


Suburban California, United States

As I sit here braiding words and sentences from the symphonies of my heart, I care little for the limitations of language or grammar which actively suffocate me, or the worst monster of all: the writer’s block when I try to write to please an audience.

At 19 years of age, I look back to 9th September 2016- exactly a year ago, and I realize my life isn’t remotely like what I envisioned for myself; to be kissed by the coastal winds of California, to sip Latvian tea made with handpicked herbs, to hear tales of Guatemala at midnight with my head resting on a pillow with Alaska’s northern lights while a box of Turkish delights from Serbia sits comfortably on my study desk; these would be the very details of my wildest imaginations never braiding themselves into reality.

But I’m not here to talk about stories of joy and sorrows delivered to me by magical individuals from across oceans; I want to share exactly why, amidst the extraordinary, I choose to talk about the ordinary but wonderful things so many easily dismiss as mundane.

As I sit here on a dining chair in this cozy small house, with no sound except that of my own gentle breathing and the keyboard as my fingers glide across it, my mind goes back to what my dear friend told me: “When I experience new things, I feel a similar enthusiasm as you,” he said with glimmering eyes and a beautiful smile. I instantly thought of the first time he taught me how to ride a bicycle, how to inflate a flat tire, to wade through a lake twice as salty as the sea and laugh at the white dust that formed on our shoes when the water dried. I thought about when we were cycling to witness the sunset, with him yelling “You’re doing so well! Keep going, you can do this!” right behind me even though I fell thrice.

Yes, I thought about the past three weeks, when I decided to properly learn cycling at 19 years of age. And right now, I am excited and happy because my dear friend is about to visit Berlin, a wonderful city for the first time in his life.

I must tell you one little secret: my dear friend is, in fact, my 53-year-old Uncle.

As I sit here on a dining chair, I recall the many moments I saw incredibly brave human beings in my own age group sit bored and idle because they believed that they had experienced the joy and excitement of every new thing already. I laugh, because I believe that too at times, even though just over two years ago, different people wearing similar cuff buttons would make me happy. I laugh again because I realize in two years, I’ve let my 19-year-old self feel like she’s 90 and cracking in every bone. It’s strange how many of my teenage friends feel like I do.

But now, I’m beginning to realize how young I am and how thrilling life can really be; not just in the trips to new places, but in the moments of sublime simplicity creeping between our high tides. Moments when a friend holds on to you after you’ve had a bad day, or offers to walk to follow the sunrise, just because. Moments when you sip a glass of water and feel absolute bliss, just because.

I am not there yet, but I want to be. I want to take over a thousand photographs of scenic Yosemite when I’m in my fifties, and experience bliss when I discover a sliding ruler at my favorite antique’s shop. Just like my Uncle.

And all of that begins when I am 19 and talking about ordinary but wonderful things so many easily dismiss as mundane.

Oh, and I am ending this abruptly because an ordinary adventure to the kitchen is calling me and I must tend to it immediately.

Yours sincerely,

Ezza Naveed Irfan

Dedicated to Uncle Hameed: Happy Birthday
Thank you for reminding me about the joys of being alive




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