The Wow Factor

"I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain, and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry. You will someday." -American Beauty 

In my entry "A Year Without Alcohol" I talked about how I have been feeling all kinds of emotions since getting sober.  Some of the best ones are moments of clarified happiness.  This has been happening to me a lot lately and I'd thought I'd describe how it feels.

I couldn't think of a better name for this feeling than the Wow Factor.  It's like ...zest for life combined with beauty, happiness, and gratefulness all wrapped into one.

If I'm lucky, I get to experience these moments of zen 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes more.

It happens when I'm wearing goggles and  I'm at the bottom of the pool looking up through the water towards the sky.  I know it sounds kind of crazy, but I feel like in that moment I've never seen something so beautiful.

It happens when I'm riding my bike at sunset through my new town in Florida with the breeze blowing and the sun shining just enough to warm my face.

It happened when I crossed the white sand in Cancun just before my eyes caught sight of the blue waters of the Caribbean sea.

It happens when my family is all together in the same house, laughing, chatting, and just enjoying life.

It happens when I'm breathing in the good energy and exhaling the negativity at yoga.

I feel it when I lie in my bed next to Fer laughing hysterically about something.

I feel it when I finish a 5K race or make an amazing play in one of my soccer games.

It's seeing the colors of the sunset light up the sky.

During all these moments I have the same amazing feeling.  I stop, I close my eyes, and in that moment I feel pure joy; I am calm and grateful for my life.  I can't remember ever having these types of moments when I was drinking.  Sometimes this feeling of gratefulness is so overwhelming I want to cry.  Yes, I am a huge SAP and I cry at the drop of a hat! haha.

I think when I was drinking I was so unhappy with myself and my life, I never felt content and nothing was ever good enough for me.  Now, I feel so lucky to be where I am in my life.  Every time I experience this I am just in awe.  I smile from ear to ear and I ask myself, is this really my life? How did I get so lucky!? And nothing particularly miraculous could be happening, yet I still feel this way.

Like I've said before, my sober journey has been wonderful but not always easy.  Sometimes there is sadness, flashbacks, urges, and guilt.  I've had to accept this new me, who can't drink alcohol and I've even lost some friends along the way.  Despite all of that, I have the most positive outlook on life I've ever had.

I finally realize that even the bad times have been a part of my growth.  That sometimes I must shut certain chapters of my life in order to move on to new ones.

I don't know where exactly these moments of happiness and clarity come from, but I am so glad I get to experience them.  I've never felt so thankful to be alive and healthy.  I guess these are what kind of emotions you feel when you have a clear mind and an open heart and are not engulfed in a cloud of alcohol.

WOW, life is good.