I hear a plane flying above me, somewhere in the pure sky. There are birds chirping, somewhere in the trees. And in between all these things, somewhere in the deep folds of the universe, there’s me. I’m not doing anything spectacular – not jumping on overnight bus journeys and waking up in new cities, or trying new foods with names I can’t pronounce, or climbing volcanoes at sunrise – I’m just here, quietly existing in my own little way.
But I think that if I were to take a video camera and pan out and out and out, I’d see myself, a little ant of a person, and I’d see everything – all the moving pieces around me – and I’d be like, ‘wow, look at you! You’re doing so much more than simply existing. You just can’t see it because you’re not looking at the big picture!’
The big picture! That’s right, I forgot about that. Sometimes, I get so caught up with what’s in front of me that I forget to look at everything else. I forget about the times I drank rosé, or read new books, or laughed in sunflower fields, or asked questions, or lay on my bed remembering, or listened to new melodies, or drove home beneath orange skies with the top down and my hair flying.
Because these are moments too and this is living too. And at the very heart of the matter, there’s something weirdly beautiful about waking up, and going to bed, and doing it all over again in the morning. Because all these moments, no matter how mundane, are fleeting and precious, never to be experienced in the same way again. I love that about life: the great uproar, the quiet shuffle, the flow, the chaos, the calm. It’s all part of something. At the very least, a part of me.
In two years, in five years, in seven years, I likely won’t remember the little moments too well. Instead, I’ll look back at this summer like an artist admiring her completed canvas. And the splattered paint that I thought were mistakes will suddenly be shining. The misdrawn lines that I hastily tried to scribble over will suddenly make me laugh. And I’ll be proud of my masterpiece in the same way a little kid is ecstatic about her badly drawn illustration. Because I alone know the effort it took: the perseverance, the sweat, the tears, the deep breaths, the patience, the strength, and most of all, the self-love it took to complete.
And that’s why the canvas of this summer will always have a coveted spot on the walls of my heart. After all, as I think we all know, or as I think we are all continuously learning, it’s not the prettiest things that matter most. It’s the things you poured your heart and soul into, the ones you almost discarded but didn’t, and the messy ones that – though you maybe didn’t know it at the time – changed you for the better.