William Liao

December 10, 2021

What you've got

It's my last week in Bloomington, Indiana before I relocate, and it's been a very rich and insightful experience to say the least. 

The knowledge that I would soon leave town has managed to punctuate virtually every experience imaginable: 

The coffee I drank from my favorite coffee shop tasted just a little bit sweeter. 

Instead of feeling miserable in the cold this morning, I actually found myself savoring it, knowing that I'd soon be moving to a warmer climate (tough to imagine, I know!). 

When I said goodbye to a family member who drove down to grab dinner, we hugged each other just a little bit tighter. 

Amid these experiences, all I could think about was the famous lyric from Joni Mitchell's song Big Yellow Taxi: "that you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone." 

What I've learned and quickly become humbled by this week is the fact that it's really easy to take things in life for granted — to believe with the utmost certainty that everything you care about and have become accustomed to will magically remain in its place. 

It took knowing that I would soon leave to suspend this illusion and savor everything a bit more. 

A big part of me has to believe that it shouldn't take relocating or a life-threatening illness to invoke the kind of humility that enables one to fully appreciate what they currently have in life. 

Perhaps you need only remind yourself that tomorrow isn't guaranteed — that all things that come into existence are destined to, at some point, fade out of existence. 

On the one hand, this is a sobering perspective to have. On the other, it might also be the key to fully embracing what truly little time we have on this planet with each other. 

Related readings: 

  1. There will be a last time
  2. 7.1e-9