Running alone along a river in the middle of Gent at 6 am in the morning. When the air smells like burnt butter cookies, and your body goes along effortlessly.

Lying with your head on a woman’s thigh after you went down on her, and you’ve found just the speed and the pressure she needs. Waiting till she says: ‘Give me one more.’

Music in the background. A mixed, odd ball collection of songs.

The überfragile song ‘Do Re Mi’. Kurt Cobain conveying his most fundamental feelings. Not in the words, but in the voice. In the way he almost tears at the guitar as if they are the last straws he’s pulling at.

Warming up soup with your mouth still wet from her.

She getting an orgasm out of you, with infinite stamina in her right wrist, one more than you thought you’d had in you.

A 15-year old asking you to give him a compliment with big wide open eyes.

A kid putting a bag of roasted chestnuts on your desk, because he’s seen you eat them before.

Playing the armchair general bent over a map of the Eastern front in late November 1942.

Talking to Ambassador Sedgewick in Bratislava, American diplomat and a direct descendant of the Civil War general that got killed by a Confederate sniper.

Seeing the enthusiasm in a crowded stadium when Bernie Sanders is speaking.

Hiding post-its with compliments all over a girl’s bedroom.

Skipping class and playing a boardgame with your best friend in some tearoom 100 yards away from the faculty.

The first couple of lines of Colombian marching powder in good company.

Your first published short story.

Your first theater performance that actually had a story to it.

Slipping into your pants and feeling how the fat has melted away.

Coming close to finding your voice.

Interviewing people who risk being naked.

Someone taking the time to tell you something that helps you along.

Any time someone respects that you are making an effort.

A young woman telling you she’d wish she’d have had a less prudent upbringing so she could explore sex freed from any guilt.

More experienced people seeing something in you.

Kids trying to make you smile.

The first time a girl tells you you’re good.

Every time you make someone laugh.

Every step closer to understanding how society works.

Every time you fear something and do it anyway.

When you’re true to yourself, you no longer fear death.

Creating value with what you know.

Any ‘hack’ that lets you create more value in less time.

Getting someone past his or her trauma.

Every time you note you can still think bigger, that there’s a next level to reach for.

Seeing a woman, and being so attracted that your desire to be with her completely eradicates any fear to contact her.

When two become one.

Knowing you’ve given all you’ve got.

A conversation that hooks you so much it goes past the maximum amount of time you can go without sleep.

What a mass of wildly enthusiastic people can accomplish if they have a common goal they believe in.

That energy that’s there when a stranger becomes a friend.