Two months from right now, my dad and I will be boarding a plane to Paris. I remember being so young and him saying "When you and I go to Paris..." and now we are finally crossing it off our bucket list. For five days we will be staying a block from the Tuileries and the Champs-Elysees, right across the Seine, walking distance from the Eiffel Tower. We will eat our weight in baguettes and cheese and pain au chocolat, then wash it down with cafe au lait. I am only beginning to put together my wish list of places to see and visit, but if all we did was sit at five different cafes in five different neighborhoods, I think I would be content.
Few emotions are more potent to me than nostalgia. I sometimes find myself trying not to look too much forward to some things, knowing how much I will long for them when they are gone or past. In this hazy August season this thickness in the air becomes an added layer no one to be wearing. It signals the beginning of the death of the year, but it triggers in me a sense that something should be beginning, a vestigial reflex from almost 20 years of first days of school.
It is a symptom that accompanies my endless effort to stay in the moment, not to look forward or look back, but to just be. To trust the process. To remember trips and days and moments with fondness and with excitement for whenever they may come again, rather than a sour stomach because they are not here now. While a healthy sense of nostalgia is a happy reminder of time well-spent, it is a gateway drug to melancholy, which can be such a self-indulgent beast.
So, I am focusing on putting one foot, instead of one year, in front of the other, in the hopes that it will help me savor this day, this moment, this trip, this process.