// she's only happy in the sun.
Apr 11

on what you leave behind. and what you take with you.

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 onĀ  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.

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10 comments on “on what you leave behind. and what you take with you.”

  1. Ashley Says:


  2. Ariana Says:

    This is beautiful, Gol. Really. Inspiring and authentic and raw and true. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Lea Ciceraro Says:

    Love this post. Our priest and lifelong friend once told my husband and I, “You can’t take a U-haul to heaven.” :) I totally agree with everything you wrote.

  4. Pamela Says:

    Well said. A very nice thing to read in my google reader first thing in the morning after not-much-sleep! I’m a first time mum to a 3 week old baby and these sort of thoughts pass through my mind frequently as I watch her with her grandparents and her father and realise that not much else matters in these moments. No-one cares what clothes we’re wearing or what car we’re driving. It’s so precious and I take a million snapshots with my brain so I can remember each moment.
    Thanks for the daily reminder :) (and awesome blog!)

  5. yennifer Says:

    I am absolutely in love this post! Lately, i had also been thinking about how uncertain our processions are and such. And ironically, i also came to the same thought of vintage items. You worded everything so beautifully!

  6. Beth Says:

    oh, thank you so much for putting these thoughts into words. I think we all have an echo of these sentiments bobbing at the back of our minds, more or less on a regular basis, but it’s such a powerful reminder to bring that recognition to the very front–to consciously filter who we are and what we choose through a framework of “what’s really important.”

  7. allyn Says:

    what an incredibly thoughtful post. i share the sentiment that the things we truly own, stay with us forever; that includes friendship, beauty, love, original creations + wondrous events. while i do get that we find things that help make the intangible tangible [kind words on a post card are magical because they gift us joy that we can touch], once should always focus on honoring the stuff we don’t have to buy, look at or collect on our shelves.

    really glad i found your site. beautiful words + hauntingly lovely photos to match.

  8. molly Says:

    excellent. excellent. excellent.

  9. Kelli Says:

    beautiful does not even come close to describing your words! this hits so close to home for how I have felt lately. randomly i was sitting on my couch eating cereal when the events in Japan started to unfold and stayed up for hours horrified for people i had never met and probably never would. i recently watched my grandfather pass away and its such a strange feeling having him gone and looking through all of his things that he left behind. these were all things that meant so much to him in his 89 years of life here on earth but really don’t mean anything at all because he goes on without them to a greater place. we collect things thinking that we need them but in reality we go on to our greater adventure without these things and take with us our lifetime of memories. our memories and experiences in life are the “things” that matter and so many of us forget that, i am one of them. i can take as many of my grandpa’s things home with me to hold on to in his memory but really all i want from him at the end of the day is to feel that last hug i got from him or to think of the endless nights of monster i played at his house as a child. that is what i will keep forever. thank you for reminding me of what is important in life and putting it into beautiful words for me to read and share. your words make my heart happy!

  10. brooklyn Says:

    i so agree with this post. after losing my best friend (two years ago next week…sigh) i feel so grateful for all the fun times we shared. although i would give anything to have her back, it’s also some comfort to know that she lived her life in such a carefree, beautiful, inspiring way. We had a great friendship, and zany hilarious adventures together, and i can remember her knowing we loved each other well.

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