thoughts | issue 010
so used to losing things
If everything is always so fleeting to me, what then do I choose to hold onto?
What is needed to hold onto?
Do we need something to hold onto?
I find, I buy, I receive something I begin to treasure and then one day it’s just gone. From the gifted gauntlet party ring left in a hotel room in Berlin, a neon orange moleskine journal dropped on the sidewalks of Ginza, to my black glove left, almost certainly now looking back, in a cafe in Oslo while waiting for the day to begin. How about the special yellow steel ring I left carried away by a river current in the Benguet province? I’ve lost 4 cellphones in my life, left in a taxi, left in a Grab, pickpocketed in Brussels, and merely slipped under my feet as I exited a car without so much as a thud — but I’ve never forgotten about my camera, my passport... and never lost any books. Left my wallet in some places, but I alway seem to find them. So maybe there are ones not meant to be lost. But there have been many casualties, missing with no bounty, really. An ethereal curated collection of lost items washed away by the tides of time, perhaps never meant to return.
In between many of those moments, I have always aimed resolutely to be more aware, more careful of my little treasured things, because 1) they cost some money and 2) don’t I care about them? Nonetheless, no matter what, they do end up no longer mine. Somehow, in the past decade, from the little grief of losing something, I’ve gotten so used to losing things. I’ve learned to accept that if they do get lost, then they are lost, especially when the point of trying has passed. Nothing can be done to get them back anymore. The moment I may have perhaps held them and considered ‘mine’ they were predestined to slip from my hands already. They belong to the ground where they fell, the seats they were abandoned in, and the people who may have found them already... the many changes of hands, air and dust that touch them. Lost to me, but found to someone, someplace else.
I then assume the position in my mind, “they are no longer mine, so be it.” Then in turn, from just simply letting go, I also somehow accept the fleeting nature of everything, not only the material things which pass my hands, excited my senses, become a part of my days, and then just gone — but the people and events which populate and fill my finite existence. If things are always so fleeting to me, what then do I choose to hold onto? What is needed to hold onto? Do we need something to hold onto?
Then I learned, the tighter you hold onto something, the greater the risk of losing them in a way you may never recover from. So I just let them be lost if they need to be. It’s not to simplify that ‘what’s meant for you will always be yours’ or that ‘if you love something you must let it go’, but that we cannot place the value of our life in a few treasured things with memories banked in them, lost physically, but in the past still there. The real essence is having had, having it, being with it, and then unwittingly, until they disappear — whether from stupid carelessness or some external act of evil. Some stay and some, almost certainly, leave; without meaning to, without warning.
And you know what, we move on.