This actually all really happened last night, though I may be guilty of adding metaphor. :]
I’m sitting in an old car. My arm reaches out the window, feeling the cool night breeze rush through my fingers.
Next to me and behind are my friends; laughing and smiling like we haven’t in a while as music blasts on the speakers and we talk about all the things that have been going on in our lives lately. Empty energy drinks and food are scattered over the floor, testaments to the fact that we’ve already put hundreds of miles on the odometer tonight. Life goes by so fast you hardly notice.
We watch as the dark, enigmatic mountain road curves and sprawls out before us; we love the rush of driving a little too fast into the unknown. We can never quite see what’s waiting around the next corner, what’s coming up next. But we’ve all lived and lost too much to worry about letting caution ruin the truth of the moment. We live for moments like these. Stepping outside of the bounds means anything can happen. The adrenaline gives way to a sort of comfort that only comes with a degree of anxiousness.
Nothing gambled means nothing gained, right? We’re never really afraid. We’ve all done this a million times before, but no matter how many times you peek over the edge into what you don’t know, it always feels like the first time.
Hours later we find ourselves at a boat launch. After the prerequisite donuts in the parking lot, we get out and walk to the end of the docks. Jutting precariously out into the water over the ice-cold, murky depths below, we imagine what it would be like to float away into the unknown. What adventures might we find if we left what we know behind us? We imagine leaving our problems behind and sailing across the horizon to something new, refusing to consider that new problems would come with new situations. This isn’t the time for practicality, dreams are what we live for.
We speed away and pick up another friend before heading back into the mountains. On top of table mountain we stop at a grave yard and get out to walk around. It’s a full moon. The eerie sound of the wind rattling chain link fences and rustling through the trees permeates the bright, silent midnight air. We see a grave marked “Unknown.” Next to it an elegant marble headstone engraved with a name none of us have heard. I see that she died a hundred years ago.”How different are these two graves,” I wonder, “That’s going to be all of us one day. Eventually no one will even remember we existed.”
What really matters then, I ask myself.
As we drive away, we pass a trailer park. One of my friends tells us he grew up there. He hated it, and he wanted more. Years later; he has a job, a new truck, a house in the city, and goes mobbing with his friends.
Maybe it doesn’t matter if anyone remembers us a hundred years from now. Maybe what matters is how we spend our passing moments like these with the people we love. Maybe it’s about what mark we all leave on each other. And whether we make the world around us a better place or a worse place, or worse yet; whether we don’t leave a worthwhile mark anywhere at all.
Perhaps the most important thing is how honest we are with ourselves and others, how hard we pursue happiness and truth in our lives, and whether we have perfect love and perfect trust and good relationships in our lives, or if instead we just sit and dream about finding it.