I think I have a character flaw in that I seem to spend a portion of every plane journey lost somewhere deep in my phone’s camera roll. It wasn’t particularly intentional this time; I was looking for some inspirational quote (I have far too many saved) to set as my background. But I still ended up as I often do; pausing on screenshotted messages from someone who used to mean a lot, or smiling at the alcohol fuelled happiness that only the people in the pictures would understand, or admiring the views from some of the places I’ve been to.
I think it leans more towards nostalgia than emotion as we mature, but the last few years have definitely made me conscious of that ‘nothing lasts forever’ aspect to life. I don’t mean that to sound cynical, but I think it’s a reminder to appreciate what we have while we have it.
When I wrote that sentence, I had a nagging feeling I’d written something similar before… and I found it in the blog I wrote not long after the Curtis Cup:
“I’m not sure whether it’s cynicism or maturity to know that nothing last forever.”
It’s funny I guess how different circumstances can lead us to the same questions or conclusions. When I want to find a quote relevant to my current mood, I know I’ll find one back in my camera roll because I know I go through the same cycles. Circumstances change, but it’s interesting how often we come full circle.
But where the first blog was more about not being scared to chase adrenaline, this is somewhere between appreciation and letting go… and understanding that everyone has to experience that.
I could write a blog (or probably a book) about college, and letting go of that life, and I think there would be a lot of college graduates that resonate. But I think the quicker you become aware that things don’t last, the quicker you can appreciate them.
My last few months at uni I started walking slower and slower around campus. I’m never going to be a ‘name the birds and the trees and the flowers’ kind of person, but I did kind of wake up to my surroundings. The fact I could throw on a t-shirt and gym shorts, walk a couple of minutes in the early morning warmth to Starbucks, and just sit outside drinking my iced latte… it’s the simplest of things you miss. There can be more stress than I can explain with being a student-athlete, but in one sense you’re able to put the gritty struggles of ‘real life’ on hold.
I don’t pretend to have all this stuff figured out. I let myself feel things more deeply than I probably should and as much as I try to have good intentions, there are always things that we could have done differently. Sometimes two people can look at the same situation completely differently and both end up hurt. Sometimes people make promises they can’t keep; sometimes people change who you didn’t think ever would.
But it’s that bittersweet appreciation I’m trying to get at. Being aware that the way your life is, isn’t the way it’s always going to be. Some relationships might last for a long time. You might be in the same job for a long time. You might live in the same house for a long time. But as much as each phase of your life feels like your whole life, it’s just a part. You don’t necessarily have to close the book once the chapter is done (I guess the fact I spend plane journeys looking through my camera roll shows that I maybe should close the book sometimes); but there is always so much more than one chapter.
“Don’t live the same year 80 times and call it a life”.
Circumstances change, people move on. You’re allowed to do the same. Just make sure you recognise the good in those circumstances, and those people, while they are there.