That Afternoon

it’s like we could have gone up up and away ::.

Pictures and memories are a refuge we can retreat to when our lives are feeling bleak. I think that’s why you still take that picture of the Eiffel Tower, even though you know you can find the same one on Google.  It’s because when you look at the one someone else took, it doesn’t take you back to the feeling you had when you took the picture.  A picture that is yours is more than an image. It’s a reminder of a time and feeling that is personal to you.  It really is a preservation of a moment in time.  This afternoon was perfect and I often go back to it.  The perfect amount of haze to make me wonder if it was all a dream.

Why do I need these retreats to begin with?  Everything in my life right now is wonderful… except the one thing I spend most of my life on.  I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring that part up to speed.  There are so many conflicting philosophies that one can take in life.  Trying to find that balance between cautious responsibility and reckless abandon.  If everyone did what they loved, who would be the janitor?  On the other hand, is a life without passion a life worth living?  How do you find that balance? Should you be happy with “good enough”, and “not so bad”, and “could be worse”? Those aren’t rhetorical questions.  Idealism aside, I really do wonder.

I’m starting to think more and more, however, that if you otherwise have the resources, the opportunity, and the ability to achieve true happiness through your personal talents, and you choose not to at least try to pursue it, then it is a waste and almost an insult to those who had no choice but to give up their dreams, or not even be able to have one to begin with…

One of my favorite quotes of all time.  I know it’s a prayer but I read it first in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five so that’s what I always think of as the origin for me.  It has stuck with me since the moment I read it:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

So profound are these simple lines.  And really so hard to achieve.

[biking along the han river with P in Seoul, Korea]


One response to “That Afternoon

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