Something Missing

Today was our last day of work before winter vacation. There was a snowstorm, too, so our company let out about five hours early.

Everyone left saying, “Happy new year!”

I lingered a bit before leaving to arrange my things.  I ended up being the last one out.

That was when I noticed that something felt missing. Something beyond the quiet the of the deserted office.  Something beyond the anticlimax of built-up expectations that surround the approach of winter vacation. Something beyond the unexpected snowfall and canceled work day.

When I feel that something is missing, I have the urge to identify its source. Was there something that I was supposed to do but didn’t? Did I not wish my coworkers a happy new year with enough enthusiasm? Should I have decorated the office so the holiday would leave the kind of deep impression on our collective psyches that it deserves? If I had a comprehensive routine that I followed carefully, would that help me not overlook whatever’s missing? Or would it be the routine itself that caused me to overlook something?

But really, it’s none of that.  The feeling that something is incomplete is just the nature of life. It’s part of the package that life comes in. Something always feels awry, even if it’s just a tiny bit. Something always feels off. Something always feels just short of complete.

Maybe it comes from the fact that the people I love, places I like, and events, and holidays, and ordinary days are all just temporary.

I sometimes wish I could bestow permanence on them. Aren’t they precious? Wouldn’t they deserve that? Is it not tragic and poignant at the same time that people, things, and times that we love all pass away?

But that is not the nature of life, and I can’t change it.

And if I can’t change it, the only choice is to adjust to it, and alter how I think about it.

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