We’re about to go to our final meal together. As I write this, I have about 50 minutes before I am to meet everyone in the hotel lobby.
Spending so much time in hotels recently has got me thinking about the transience of life. Hotel rooms, for me at least, are an ideal representation of this transience – a metaphor, you could say. I think about how people have lived in this room before me and will live in the room after I leave. I put my clothes on the shelf, I put my toothbrush by the sink. I am made to think, for the time that I spend here, that this room is mine. Make yourself comfortable. My sink. My shelf. My chair. My bed. It’s not mine. It never was.
Not even the things that I actually own will be mine forever. My shoes will wear out. The strap on my backpack will tear. My watch will stop working. I will have to choose to repair these things or buy new ones, but in the end it’s all the same. They’re all just things that I use, and none of them are permanent.
The same thing goes for relationships – familial, romantic, friendships, you name it. And I don’t mean this in a completely pessimistic way. I just mean that not everyone will be in our lives forever. Heck, we won’t even be around for forever. People move away and go to different places, people die. We are all together for a certain amount of time, and that’s it.
It is neither good nor bad. This is just how it works. We can be thankful or resentful, we can fight and try to change it or we can accept it.
One of the things that we can control is how we allow these relationships, our interactions with the world and with each other, to affect how we act and how we see the world.
The police officer takes another bribe.
The young man walks with his grandmother to the store.
The girl checks her younger sister’s head for lice.
The beggar receives a handful of potato chips from a passerby.
And I move to my next hotel room.
– Marcy Held