With graduate applications sent out and another semester coming to an end, I can’t help but look back at where I came from. If I have to choose one expression that really influences and reflects on life, something that touched me, that changed my outlook on life and that reinforced my awe and wonder at our magnificent world, it would have to be the words of Albert Knag in Jostein Gaarder’s novel “Sophie’s World”:
“Life is both sad and solemn. We are let into a wonderful world, we meet one another here, greet each other and wander together for a brief time. Then we lose each other and disappear as suddenly and unreasonably as we arrived.”
My response to this was (and still is) a humble “Wow”. Gaarder expresses both the majestical highs of exuberance and the unthinkable but ultimately true end of life without judging or diminishing both. And is that not how life truly is? Although this quote deals on a first level with life as a whole, it is just as true for our daily lives. It amazes me to experience the daily comings and goings of people, the connections we make with humans that we meet one evening and afterwards, as we walk away, not realize that we will never see them again. The profound sorrow that is a part of all existence, but also the profound joy of every moment that we share amongst those we connect with. I sometimes wish that we can hold on to the beautiful moments, the great achievements and the times of joy and happiness, that we can freeze time, that we can relive our profound moments in more than just memory. But as this quote so aptly conveys, this is not the way of the world. But that is not a reason for despair or sorrow. No, it is just a motivation to cherish every moment for all that it encompasses. If we could relive times at our slightest whims, if we could get a second chance at life, maybe we would find that, instead of finding recaptured glory and awe, we are only diminishing the worth of the moment. Maybe the biggest factor in creating the exuberance and awe that we experience is the fact that we can’t relive it. Why would we walk the extra mile now if we can do it tomorrow? But still, our heart yearns for the chance to recapture and relive. And not in vain, for by doing so, I believe we keep the memories unstained and unspoilt, the memories of our “brief time” in this wonderful world. Although we all spend only a limited time here, this world in filled with so much emotion, so much strength and weakness, so much love and hate, so much exaltation and so much sorrow, that “wonderful” fails to describe the awe, humility, joy and love that we find here on earth. I would not exchange my memories for any riches or glory.