Every friendship has a shelf life.
I peered through the window of my hostel, a clear view of the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur.
So this was Paris — the city of love and romance. The tourist view at least.
There were only two words I mastered while I was in Paris: a feeble “merci” and “pardon” I would whisper under my breath to mask the fact that I was an American tourist.
A part of me felt a little lost as I wandered through Jardin des Tuileries.
But as they say, the moment you lose yourself in a place is the moment you find yourself.
I was nearing the end of my travels. Soon I’d be back home. I’d feel the flush of relief to return to familiar territory. Then to repeat the cycle of travel, stemmed from a wanderlusting heart.
The traveler’s blues were getting to me sooner than I had expected. My mind felt like I was in a fog as I meandered through the corridors of the Louvre. The fog stalked me as I hopped the train to head toward Notre-Dame. There the fog lingered as I tried in vain to focus on the street musicians as they played, tourists dropping their coins.
Thinking about being present is not the same as actually being present.
I thought that Paris was a drab city at the time with its aged, gray buildings. I felt a yearning to take a train to the South of France where I would be met by warmer waters and picturesque scenery. Why didn’t I?
Sometimes, just like Paris, it takes time to settle — the beauty of a city. The charm that exists in every place is often overlooked in the moment, but only through reflection caught.
The charm of Paris for me was not in the buildings, pubs, or historical museums…
The charm was created. On the last day.
The fourth and very last day, I shared a dorm room with three other girls — part-time nomads like me.
One of them showed me the several bracelets that adorned her wrist.
Each bracelet represents each country I have traveled to.
There was a music teacher from Chicago, a girl from Bahia, Brazil who moved to Portugal for work but was taking a vacation to Paris. The four of us meeting in one spot — exactly four years apart in age — on our quest to find the moment.
We came from different places and here our lives would intersect.
Just for a night.
In a night we talked about our past lives we left behind to explore the charm of Paris. Together, we ventured downstairs to the bar with a free drink coupon we got complimentary to the hostel.
Cheers to our last night in Paris
The music teacher made a toast as we clinked our glasses. After just one drink, we laughed it off and went back to our hostel room.
We wished each other a good night as we slipped back into our pajamas and returned to our dorm beds. This was our last.
We didn’t exchange Facebooks.
We didn’t exchange Instagrams.
We didn’t even trade numbers.
We shared our stories instead. We accepted things for how they were. Meaningful in the moment.
Sometimes those are the moments that are most unforgettable. They are fleeting and when we are conscious of the temporality of the moment, we care more. We give more.
We love more.
I did not learn my lesson from Paris until the last day.
Life’s lesson that every moment must be experienced in the temporal state to truly appreciate what is in front of you.
Whether you are in a foreign country or at home — to experience the peak state of being present is a precious gift that can be created moment by moment.
Let the present moment wash over you. Cleanse you from the prison of what-ifs and past-dones.
Make your present, present. Your future you and future wants exist in the now. Take advantage of this moment to truly live like it may very well be the last.
Every relationship has a shelf life.
Flowers wither. But they grow again.
The sun sets, but it rises again.
I used to be anxious and apprehensive in the past about the world’s temporality.
But as I let the reality of temporality of this life sink in, I can actually say that I feel less apprehension toward this life lesson.
I can feel relief… even some security in the temporality of the world.
I can say that if the world is temporal, so am I.
I can change.
Become whoever I want to be.
The best or worst version of myself. Even the mediocre.
The world proclaims that this life is temporal.
We don’t have to fear about tomorrow when today has been granted to us.
We are living right now.
What will you do today?
Will today be your best, your worst, or your mediocre?
Will the smile of that stranger today be eternal in the moment?
Will the laughs and cries you exchange with your loved ones today be crystallized in the temporal?
Or will you dream about tomorrow? And tomorrow dream of the next?
Being present is a choice. Choosing to live is a choice as well.
Our friendships and relationships can last a day, a month, a few years.
But they can also last a lifetime in the temporal.
In every friendship and relationship you hold with an individual, the world, in all creation around you… make each moment mean something, no matter the length of its shelf life.
Life is about building meaning in every moment. Make this moment count.
With love. ❤