image credit: laura encursiva
there are moments when you’re reminded with acute clarity, about what actually matters. it might happen in a really obnoxious way, complete with fanfare and fireworks, a horn section, and tears both sad and happy, like at funerals and weddings. and sometimes it feels like a more gentle reminder – like when you tightly hug a friend who’s just told you she’s pregnant, or watch an incredible film/concert feeling breathless and captivated at the same time. on occasion, the realization arrives abruptly – one minute you’re up late snacking on cereal on the couch, and the next, you’re watching horrified as part of japan gets swallowed whole by the ocean. or you’re on a plane packed full of strangers and a chubby baby returns your smile with a toothless grin, and suddenly everything is ok with the world because you’ve made a connection with this tiny being.
i will forever remember what a friend shared with me a few days after watching her father pass away. she told me that when he was ‘gone’ it was so abundantly obvious to her that none of the stuff we have/acquire/collect, matters at all. every.single.thing. we own stays here. these vintage stores i like to forage are just full other people’s stuff. and one day that will probably be my stuff. cameras, books, gadgets, the perfect coffee mug. it all stays. but the relationships we foster, the friendships we grow and cultivate, the children we tend to and labor over, the love that we offer indiscriminately and without pretense. these interactions and exchanges are the only things we take with us. and what others carry with them once we leave.
keeping in mind how fleeting and fragile life is, only reinforces my decision to accept nothing less than authenticity in relationships. to embrace spontaneity and adventure and road trips where we show up without much notice on a friend’s doorstep – just because. to hug fiercely and laugh fully. to never hold back affections or attention. to smile sincerely. to make and hold eye contact. to always say thank you.