I must have begun this post a dozen times in the past few months. And not ended it even once. There was so much to write and yet nothing to say. Every time the urge to share with the world all the things that were going on in my life awoke within me, I would open up an empty page and feel a familiar rush – that need to put in words all the sounds, smells, tastes, emotions, thoughts that were clamouring for my attention – and then…nothing. All I would want to do is be silent.
I considered continuing The Letters, felt obliged to even, but when I read them again I realised that they had reached exactly the place they were supposed to reach. What needed to be said then had all been said and it was time to write of things bright, alive and hopeful.
But how do you describe things anew that have been described by many others a hundred, a thousand times before? How do you make it sound new and amazing and fantastic and like something that has never existed before when it is happening to millions of people every day?
The more I considered that, the more I realised that sometimes the things that mean so much to us are only for us, not for the whole world.
Some emotions and experiences need to be communal because they reach out to others and help them grow, because expressing them helps you to better understand yourself as well. And some feelings…well, sharing them only seems to dilute them or even pollute them. These are experiences that gain all the more depth and richness for how much closer you hold them to yourself. You find yourself hiding them within yourself until you can find a silent moment in the late hours of the night or the early hours of the morning to secretly bring them out, wonder at them and cherish that realization that they are all yours and only yours.
So this post isn’t going to be a tale of how the past ten months have been or why I haven’t blogged. Life happened and I was not inclined to write about it. Life is still happening, but now I am.
Not surprisingly, a few things have changed at my end and surprisingly, many have remained the same. What I am fast beginning to realise (understand?) is that Life isn’t really made of huge big adventures and events. The things that we expect will cause the greatest waves actually simple are a gentle shift. Life is a process, the culmination of many small shifts and ripples, and one day we wake up and are shocked at how everything around us has changed suddenly…only it was all happening slowly and we just weren’t observing.
I wake up some mornings and can’t even remember what life was like ten months ago, even though it was the life I had lived for years. The people around me seem to have been there forever even though they were unknown strangers last year. Other mornings, all I can do is want to go back to the familiar, comfortable routines of the past. On these mornings, the knowledge that Life has changed forever scares me.
As it settles in that Time passes irreversibly, that what is gone is gone forever and that the only thing we ever have is our memories; as this fact sinks far, deep inside I feel a chilly wind blow through my soul. Because I can’t bring what has gone back and more important, one day I too will become a memory that no one will be able to bring back. And when that day comes, I will be somewhere strange and the people around me will be new, the world will have shifted and if I will have passed the time preceding that without noticing the subtle changes that lead up to it, I will be afraid and shocked by that state, by that place, by that Life.
So this post is about starting afresh, about trying new things, about meeting new people. It’s about the fact that living Life can scary, but it can also be beautiful; that by learning about others, you actually learn the most about yourself and that the best moments of existence are hidden in the smallest, simplest experiences.
We don’t need to look for adventure and live life on highly-charged emotions, adventure is in every miraculous breath that we take and emotions are best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. We don’t have to love people intensely, as long as our love for them is intense. We don’t have to grieve over losses completely, as long as our grief is complete. We don’t have to hope desperately, as long as our hope is constant.
We can only live life valuably after we learn to value the life we have.