I once told a friend, "Age is not an accurate indication of maturity. It does not hold true that a person gets more mature as they get older; it's only a probability. Rather, maturity is attained in a process of degrees, each degree being measured in experience. Experience is earned through a lack of wisdom; wisdom comes from experience. Wisdom and maturity are not the same thing, though they are interdependent upon one another should a person want to embrace contentment, peace and true spiritual maturity." This is my personal philosophy and I'm sure it's not unique, but I have the distinction of having figured it out on my own and so far I have yet to see error with it.

epiphany: e·piph·a·ny (-pf-n) n., pl. e·piph·a·nies.
A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization.

I was sitting at a coffee shop tonight, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and reading a book. The coffee was one of my favorites, Hawaiian Hazelnut. My Marlboro Lights, in a box, were dwindling fast in the cool night breeze, weather that hadn't been seen in Nashville for quite some time and was very welcome to anyone with half a brain. I was reading "The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson, which is part sci-fi, part children's fairy tale, part speculative fiction, part future-history... definitely a book that was right up my alley. Friends floated about my table, coming and going as friends do, but they were respectful enough (this time) to leave me be and let me read, the earphones of my MP3 player blatantly exposed on my shaved head, making it clear that I was in another world entirely and happy to stay there until exhaustion struck or I ran out of smokes. It was almost bliss, for me, diminished only in the fact that there was a certain table companion whom I wish could have joined me. It's just as well, though. As into Mr. Stephenson's novel as I was, I might not have been very engaging company tonight- I ate that story up like it was candy.

At some point I glanced around me. The café was emptying of people and it was getting late. The establishment wasn't going to close, because it's open 24/7, but my eyelids suddenly became very, very heavy, as though some invisible force were purposely tugging them downward, inducing REM state. In those precious few moments when the world was quiet, conversations were at a low ebb and my mind was unfettered and massaged well-enough, the loose fabric of my consciousness began to coalesce into something new and different. One of those degrees of maturity, an experience, was in the process of being processed- wisdom was settling in and taking a firm hold on my psyche. It's no surprise, really, because I am, after all, only 27 years old. People continue to grow and mature even through their eighties and if they don't, then something's wrong.

During those immeasurable seconds of my mind's busy-work, a calm came over me. In a sense, it felt like I was stepping on my own grave and not too interested enough to really care or notice except in some dispassionate way, like, "Oh, man, should I even be doing this right now?" Having a moment of clarity should be an intensely private thing, like masturbation or winning the lottery, not something one does at the slightest opportunity, in front of everyone. I mean, let's be honest here, it's not like you can really share a moment of clarity with someone else, is it?

But that's what it was: clarity, like looking at a world that has become a crystal, blue lake of serenity and perception. I'm not entirely certain of what it was my mind was realizing, perhaps it was just the coffee, but whatever it was felt big, like destiny kinda stuff. I hope to drift to sleep soon and let my mind ruminate some more on this wonderfully mysterious epiphany so that I may ponder it tomorrow or, just maybe, share it with someone I love.