D’il Mio Libro Piccolo: The Whole World and Your Life

it tolls for thee.

I’ve been exceptionally homesick these last few days. Perhaps it’s just another familiar wave of culture shock that pushes you inexplicably down, perhaps it’s hormones, or perhaps the cold weather is already getting to me. The cause could be anything; what I’m trying my best to ignore is the possibility that the homesickness is caused by something real, something in me that truly believes I was happier in California and should not have given that up.

But I did, and I’m here, que sera, sera, and I’m sure soon I’ll be experiencing another blissful moment – the kind of distinct happiness you can only get when you’re far away from what you know, and you’re proud for knowing you’ve begun to fit in.

Though, regardless of whether I’m floating in elation or sinking in loneliness, what I have to do is be present. Wherever I am, that is where I should be. Not back in my freshman year of college, sitting on the cafeteria patio with french fries on plastic trays, new friends at my side, and the warm Orange County evening settling over me. Not in the backyard of my childhood home, swinging on the hammock with a fudgesicle dripping down my tie-dyed cotton dress, and a sleepy plane lulling overhead in the California summer sky.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Hemingway’s masterpiece about 4 long days in the Spanish Civil War and my most recent selection from the Boekenmarkt in the Spui, delivered to me a sharp reminder of this. I was going to say that of course Robert Jordan had greater reason to live in the moment than I do, as his life was in constant danger as a guerilla bridge-blower behind fascist lines, but I won’t say that. If we all waited until our survival was in obvious danger to really pay attention, then we’d miss a hell of a lot.

“And if there is not any such thing as a long time, nor the rest of your lives, nor from now on, but there is only now, why then now is the thing to praise and I am very happy with it. Now, ahora, maintenant, heute [and, might I add, the Dutch nu]. Now, it has a funny sound to be a whole world and your life.”

A whole world and your life. It does sound funny, but of course that is what it is. Every minute of our lives – every memory and every single forgotten moment – fits together like a puzzle, a painting, a great galaxy. They are now a whole. And that whole exists in its only possible form, with each successive moment adding one piece, one brush stroke, one star. They are fixed. Permanent. And the only thing to do is to fully absorb each new thing that comes along, because only what happens now, and now, and now can change the way the whole turns out. And that, of course, is what matters. Living in the nu.


2 Responses to “D’il Mio Libro Piccolo: The Whole World and Your Life”

  1. November 22, 2008 at 2:25 am

    But you didn’t give up California, you can always come back – at least you can when you are done with what you are doing. And how would you ever know if you were happier where you were (i.e., California) if you had never left? It takes some exploration to discover where you’ll be the happiest, some people have to travel a lot further than others to discover just what and where that is.

    It is said that true happiness is being happy where you are, with what you’ve got. I believe that’s true, but with the understanding that even if where you are is not where you want to be forever, you can be happy in the now and in the journey to get there. Use these experiences, and the freedom you have to have them, to choose what will make you happy in the future. If you feel unhappy where you are, even if just for a day, be happy knowing that everything is temporary and you are in control of what happiness is in your future.

  2. 2 greenolive
    November 22, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    ‘nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be’
    not sure if that quote relates to this, but some people like it. All you need is NOW (sung to the tune of All you need is love)

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"Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!" -Henry James, The Art of Fiction
November 2008
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