Have you ever wondered if the people that entered your life were meant to do so or simply ended up in it by accident? It’s a question we’ll never find an answer to; does anything happen because it was always meant to or is everything only a big coincidence?
Stories that Melt
My housemates and I have a picture wall in our house. We have taken a Polaroid of every person who has entered our home in the past year (more or less – Polaroids are expensive).
People that have come and stayed for some time.
People that were just passing by.
People that came back.
People that never returned.
But, all people that had something in common: a story to tell.
Their stories melted with ours and became one for the time they stayed with us. So we commemorated the moment with a picture.
As I look at this wall I wonder if they all stopped by for a reason.
There’s the girl who’s come back here every single day since. We shared fun drunken nights and long study sessions. We learned to cook and we ate ‘healthy’ together.
There’s the group who came here to celebrate a birthday party and hasn’t been seen around very often afterwards.
There are parents smiling at the camera, while they cook and paint, helping us rebuild this house.
There are love interests on the wall, past, present and, who knows, maybe future.
There’s the girl who’s name is still a mystery, who crashed a random party we organized.
There are millions of stories on this wall and they belong to this place.
A year has passed and many experiences have been shared, and are now imprinted in our minds. Laughter. Nights spent crying. Adventures. Exams. Parties. Metro rides that never end. And so much music, which became the soundtrack of our everyday routines. The People we’ve met and the ones we’ve lost, we should be grateful for them all. At the end of the day, happiness is not measured by success and all of the goals you’ve reached this year. Those are simply events that make you feel proud and accomplished, but what has made me wake up every single day in the past year wanting to achieve all of those goals were the people that loved me.
As humans we are social creatures and in the past two years we have faced perhaps the scariest challenge of all: the one of being alone. Covid has entered our lives and built walls between us. It has imprisoned us in our houses. It has taken away a lot from us, from meeting new people, participating in in-person classes, to not being able to meet friends for a drink at the bar. Social lives have been restricted to the bare minimum, but, here we are, still waking up every day to feel part of a society which is slowly isolating us. Not because it wanted to, but because it had to.
The Resolutions We Can’t Resolve
I always found New Years’ resolutions quite fascinating; we make them just to break them in a couple of weeks. And yet, every year we keep making them and hoping that, this time, we can manage to keep up with them. However, they slip out of our control so fast, we seem unable to focus on them, unable to achieve the change we promised ourselves we would achieve. Maybe because on New Year’s everything seems possible, we feel like we are standing on the edge of a cliff and we can choose whether we want to jump into the new or stay in the old.
It’s amusing the belief of control we have over our lives, even though it’s completely fake. Because time is much stronger and more powerful than we realize. It does not stop, ever, and even if we have the perception of choosing whether to jump or not, in the end we all have to jump in the darkness. We don’t have any other choice, because at 12:01 on the 1st of January a new year will begin and there is nothing we can do to stop that.
New adventures will start. New experiences will be awaiting. We will meet new people, even if just from the comfort of our own homes. We will travel. We will cry again. We will laugh. We will hurt a lot, but we will pick ourselves up and keep walking. Because there is no way to stop. We have to keep going, until we can’t anymore. But that’s all another kind of story.
New Polaroids will appear on the Picture Wall.
People that will come and stay over for some time.
People that will be just passing by.
People that will come back.
People that will never return.
But all of these people are what make every single moment worth living. They are the stories we will thank the past year for.
The Thank Yourself Pattern
So, keep building your Picture Wall with new faces. Not all of them will bring you happiness, for sure, but all of them will teach you something. Growth, after all, is the whole reason why we started keeping track of time. We want to see our development. We want to see we have gotten better at something. We want to see that we have loved, and we have been loved. We like to acknowledge our growth.
Take a second, before time pushes you down the cliff, just a short moment, to smile and thank yourself for how far you’ve come this year. Thank yourself for not giving up, for rebuilding yourself. Be grateful to you because you made it, and you are thriving and growing. Take a moment, not any longer because pining too much over the past is not that fun, and then jump. Jump with your heart in hand and let time guide you through everything that’s waiting for you. Make thanking yourself a pattern this coming year.
Cover by: Asiah Capponi
Edited by: Johannah Maurer