I struggle with the continual motion of life, that things change every second of every day and somehow all these moments compound into one thing: my current situation. I feel guilty that in the past I didn’t make the time to savor it all, to stop and reflect more often while living abroad and many various places in America.
Maybe I could start now, now that I am living with my eyes wide open because I don’t really have a choice to not pay attention to my surroundings. I moved to New York City a few months ago, and I feel like I arrived yesterday. I don’t know where I am half the time, and more often than not I have no clue why or what I am doing here.
Currently, I am sitting in my room writing and just a few minutes ago I was ironing the laundry I hung to dry in the sun. (When I lived in Italy I learned that not all clothes need to go in the dryer- I realized this because I didn’t have a dryer there!) In this batch of laundry was my grandfather’s Irish linen handkerchief that my aunt gave to me at my cousin’s wedding when I needed to dry my tears of happiness. I dirtied it on my recent move here, with mascara and cover-up, as I blotted away the sweat in my struggle relocating all my belongings to the new place I call home. Now, I have a guilty conscience that I stained something so dear to me that reminds me of my family history. Heirlooms are sacred to me. I couldn’t remove all of the beige and black marks. However, they are now part of the fabric I carry around with me during my every day travels, reminding me that my memories are not perfect, nor are they just the way I always want them to be.
My grandfather who owned the handkerchief, Pop Pop, died when I was one year old. When his life was coming to an end we were admitted to the hospital at the same time- I with a dilapidating disease called Osteomyelitis- a staph infection that eats away bone, and my grandfather was a few floors up suffering from lung cancer. My anxiety-driven but hopeful mother hustled between wards trying to cheer us up, that everything would get better.
Luckily my pediatrician, Dr. DeLorenzo, was able to salvage my tiny ankle and my ability to walk with intense surgery and an extreme course of antibiotics, but unfortunately my grandfather did not survive his struggle and died at a fairly young age, along with all his knowledge as a medical doctor and his love for humanity. I still feel at a loss that he was not a figure in my childhood, nor do I know how he has shaped my mother’s life and in return how he has effected my own personal experiences and family relations.
Now that I live here, with a whole new surrounding and set of friends, I can’t help but think, what if I just stopped here and didn’t move around any more- would I be happier? Would I feel as appreciative of my current situation if New York City was the city I lived in for the rest of my life? I would I stop trying to pause and reflect to appreciate my life like I currently do now that everything is so new and fresh?
But then I ground myself. My life stops spinning. I remember that this is just one moment, one feeling that is creating cloud cover. I smile at all the memories, happy and hurtful, and forgive my shortcomings. Luckily there is tomorrow, to eat and soak it all in and share it with somebody here and in the now.
So, now it is time to move on and keep living without hesitation. Stains and scars are just reminders of minor setbacks and realizations of a life well lived.