This morning I started the packing process, rain pouring in buckets outside, the window open, listening to the thunder boom off somewhere in the distance. I put some music on and the first song that came on was Stolen Dance by Milky Chance (If you haven’t heard this song, you should. Listen Here).
Now, a little background to this song: This was the song of last summer, the kind that carries in its rhythm and beat memories so vivid that you feel like you were back in that place, at that time. It’s the kind of song that lumps places and people and periods of time together to give it a color, a very distinct color, one that you are sure doesn’t exist anywhere else except for in this memory. It’s the kind of song that gives memory a flavor, so potent that you feel it as vivid as when you were experiencing it, maybe even more so because you are aware of the absence of it. Of what was.
Last summer was a time lost in adventures and long days and sunset surf sessions and new places and people and exciting newness on the horizon. Of sunshine and warm summer nights and red wine with friends in the backyard. Of hammocks and headstands and cocktails in mason jars and beer by the beach and laughter in the ocean on boats and copious amounts of veggies and kombucha-making and fresh fruit from the backyard, of giant blow-up rafts in the ocean and fresh crab outdoor dinners and SUPing, of outdoor movies and treks through Yosemite. Of beach weddings and slacklining under palm trees and the first seedling ideas of starting this blog… It was the summer I turned 25, of quitting my corporate job, the feeling of anticipation, of being on the brink of a shift, a change in seasons.
And so it’s this song, Stolen Dance, that somehow wove together all of these memories in its rhythm. A song that augments nostalgia. And it made me start thinking about this past year, and I got a little bit of pre-nostalgia. The kind you get when you haven’t even left the place yet and you already miss it.
I’ll admit, throughout the year, pre-nostalgia would hit every now and then. Sometimes when I rode my bike or listened to music on our patio in the back or walking away from a beach that we had hiked to that day, or catching a glimpse of the mountains. Where I’d think to myself, that spark going off in my brain, I wish I could remember this moment. Some day down the road when I’m stressed or down or wondering why the world is the way it is, I’ll think of this. And you walk away from where you are and think that you might never see this place again. And the weight of the moment hits you, the fullness of it.
It’s the kind of moment that clutches you, takes away your breath for a moment, and you feel like you want to hold on to it for just a little bit longer. You want to somehow take it and put it in a jar and bottle it up so you can see it from time to time. To immortalize it, to be able to revisit it whenever you want, the sites, the smells, the vibes, the feeling you got. Where you get so consumed by how good a moment is that you already worry about its absence. The thought of change, of shifting in seasons scares you.
But the reality is that time keeps rolling on, and these moments are like breath—they have shape and tangibility for a moment and then they are gone, into the air, whisping away, either morphing into the recesses of memory or forgotten moments.
I think it's in our natural makeup to want to keep, to hold on to places and people and memories and feelings and moments. To want to eternalize them somehow, to bundle them up and preserve them, to not just remember, but to feel the feeling, to bring it back to life. And I think maybe that’s what makes the moment so full, so beautiful—because it’s fleeting and you know you will only have it for this moment. You can try to tuck it away in your memory, to tell yourself to remember, but the thing is that memory is selective and it’s a gamble whether you will even remember it. So you have to enjoy the moment as it comes to you because no memory or picture or story can bring it back fully. Beauty is fleeting, and I think maybe without it being fleeting it might not be so beautiful.
Starting on Monday, I will be travelling for more or less a month or so, a little travelling gypsy if you will. That's right, no apartment, just me, the bag on my back and the next adventure. So as I pack up my things and begin the process of moving, I get to thinking about the process of keeping and shedding, of preserving and letting go. Of rooting and uprooting, of saying goodbye.
The thing with traveling is that you are constantly in a state of uprooting, of figuring out what you take and what you leave. Of what you will carry with you and what gets left behind—people, places, thoughts, attachments and detachments.
Whether it’s a place or idea or job or person, we tend to hold on because we find something good in them and we’re afraid to let that goodness go. So we try to preserve that goodness for just a little bit longer. And while maybe a small piece of us wonders what else is out there, we don’t let go because we’re afraid.
But at the end of the day, why are we so afraid of change, of moving on, of letting go? Perhaps it’s because we fear the possibility to change for the worse.
The thing is, life takes turns and shifts and oscillates more than we want or like. If life was constant rainbows and butterflies, how would we grow? It’s about choosing an attitude when things don’t go as planned and having the awareness to appreciate the moments when they do.
So as the seasons shift, the tides change, people and places move in and out of your life, remember that it’s okay to appreciate what has been and to step into the unknown, to walk into a new arena and see what awaits you. To soak in the good times and find beauty in the temporality of it, to know that you may not get this moment again, and to see what new adventure awaits your wild, beautiful life.
While this isn’t my final adieu (or should I say, adéu) to Mallorca, I’m taking this time to appreciate. To soak up these days and to try to understand the process of letting go. To try to accept that life is a changeable, malleable, beautifully complicated material. To be okay with finding my way, making mistakes, learning, loving, laughing, hurting. Life constantly bends and rights itself, making our stories unique.
So in this ever fluctuating life, somewhere lost in the void of good memories and the fear of letting them go, know that it’s okay to make mistakes, but learn from them. It’s okay to be vulnerable, to not know what’s next. To have to take a step or two back. To taste something and find it bitter. To have your expectations let down. To wish you hadn't done something. It's okay. Change is what makes up your story. And I think that perhaps, wherever I go next might be that much richer, that much sweeter, because of where I've been.