One of the saddest realities is most people never know when their lives have reached the summit. Only after it is over and we have some kind of perspective do we realize how good we had it a day, a month, five years ago. The walk together in the December snow, the phone call that changed everything, that lovely evening in the bar by the Aegean. Back then you thought ‘this is so nice.’ Only later did you realize it was the rarest bliss.
Most of the time when something goes bad—a marriage, a war, a run of good luck—you don’t know it. It’s like in the cartoons, only less funny. You run off the cliff and just keep going—talking, listening to music, making plans, for years sometimes—except no announcer interrupts to say ‘Excuse me, collect call for Mr. Coyote’ to make you notice and make us laugh. You just wake up and fall.