Death is a shadow that walks with us even where there is no light.
Many people I know have been affected with loss and heard news of the impending death of a loved one recently. Or even just going through a tough time in general. It never gets easier. It never goes away. It’s a reason we need to surround ourselves with quality people so when these grey days descend – and they will – we have people to shine a light through the clouds to remind us there’s blue sky above the dreariness. And that it’s always there.
Last Saturday I had my afternoon freed up and with all the emotion of the week passed a moment of magic inspired.
Sitting down on the couch I had just worked on, the wall behind me felt like angel wings spread as wide as they could go.
A single moment surrounded by twenty years of living.
I’ve been in my Sea Point flat six years now, never having a clear goal of how long I was going to be here I’ve never decorated and as such the walls remain fairly bare.
Cleaning my flat I noticed two panoramic pictures I printed from my New York trip in 2013. They’d been up on the wall, but for some reason now lay miserably on the wall unit dying a slow death. My hands moved before I even thought to put them up.
I picked the largest barren wall.
Then I noticed another three photos lying around of me, also just fading in the darkness of obscurity. I decided to put those up too.
A tidal wave of emotion and energy flowed through me as thoughts reminded me of all the places in my flat more photos were hidden.
While cleaning up my flat I also decided to start throwing away everything that wasn’t serving me anymore or that I hadn’t used since being in the flat (I think six years is a sufficient gauge of what needed to go)
Eight years back I met a woman who kept photos on her fridge and having purchased fridge magnets from any city I’ve visited, thought it a great idea to liven up my fridge and put the critters to good use as well. Every now and again I print new ones to keep it fresh. The old ones too, now lay in a box tucked in the back corner of my cupboard.
As I found more photos to put up, I became feverish to find the next batch. I remember thinking I needed to cover the entire wall.
I came pretty close.
With each picture a flood of memories enveloped me and at times emotionally so. A Jigsaw of my life unfolded; and though each piece was not chronological, still fitted like a glove.
Starting with the first photo taken at my matric dance all the way to my most recent photo of friends and I; but I didn’t stop at photos.
My name badge from working at Harrods
The cricket scorecard from my first hundred at high school.
A farewell card of positivity from Jonathan as I left London on a voyage of discovery to Cape Town.
Postcards from cities visited
My ticket for Wicked on Broadway
My 2010 World Cup tickets
Coasters from a German pub in Munich
My scribbling’s about life I scribbled while waiting for my car to be washed in Brackenfell (a broken man that day)
The dummy magazine cover I made for Isaure this year.
Twenty years of my life.
My ‘Life Wall’
I hear lots of people talking about vision boards; or scrolling through photos on their phone they’ve taken on holidays; and what they still want out of life. It seems to happen more than hearing about appreciation for how they arrived at today. The sum total of all their experiences and people met along the way. Guilty as charged here too. We seem to constantly chase the next thing and not really take stock of what we’ve accomplished to date.
I’ve always tried to be as appreciative of what I have, who I am, and where I’ve come from, but standing with a wall of your life looking back at you and not just individual pictures being flipped through is incredible. I think its well worth the effort.
In fact I feel we should have visions walls opposite our life walls – and when we accomplish something on our vision board (like visiting Iceland) then that would move off the vision wall and across the room on to the life wall. A constant flow of working towards what we want all the while being truly grateful for the experiences and people we meet along the way.
Instead of becoming consumed by what we haven’t achieved or what we haven’t done – I think we should remember what we HAVE achieved too.
It’s a cathartic experience to bring you back fully into appreciation.
Celebrate your life.
Celebrate being you.