I have a feeling that when we look back on our lives, we won’t remember the big things at all.
You’re supposed to remember your childhood birthday parties and your college acceptance letter and the keys to your first house and that moment when Prince Charming got down on one knee and suddenly the world went dark and it all made sense forever & ever. You’re supposed to remember the births of your children and the awards you won and the promotions you received.
But I think, when I’m old or maybe young and it’s time to go, all of those big things will fade into a blur.
I think instead, I’ll remember the way the beach looks when the weather’s bad in muggy, magic low-country South Carolina — when it’s storming and the sand is dark-tan-almost-brown and punctured by raindrops.
I’ll remember the way the clouds looked on top of green mountains when I was eighteen years old and away from home for the first time.
I’ll remember the way your voice sounded. And yours. And yours. And yours.
I’ll remember the first time someone knew me well enough to guess what I was feeling.
I’ll remember salt and lime and hazy nights and walking on cobblestones in the summer.
I’ll remember how it feels to shower off an all-nighter and crawl into bed and fall headfirst into sleep, for hours and hours and hours until you feel like a human being again.
I’ll remember the way your shoulder felt against mine.
I might not remember my real graduation day, but I’ll remember the day I was supposed to graduate, and how I spent it couch-surfing with my best friends and dead phones and no plans and nowhere to go.
I’ll remember a lot more wasted time than time that wasn’t wasted.
I think what I’m trying to say is — everyone thinks life is measured in milestones, and I’ve always thought that too. Because of that I’ve been obsessed with Big Days and Big Moments. I had to have the perfect prom and the perfect 21st birthday and the perfect first college party because those are the things you remember. But I don’t remember those things. I remember the way it smelled the first time it snowed freshman year.
I think if I have any advice to give, it’s to realize that life is not a timeline of capitalized Big Moments, it’s a tapestry made of the tiniest threads. And there is good and terrible and painful and euphoric and it’s all there, and none of it cancels out the rest.
But I think you get to the end, and you just hope you loved enough to make it worthwhile. Just enough to make it worth being here.
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