Times They Are a-Changin’

I’m leaving Denmark on Monday, and my physical life is now in boxes. It’s a weird middle ground—neither here nor there, a transition. I have to choose what to take and what to leave behind. Of course there are some things that I can’t help but take — like memories and experiences and the way I’ve permanently changed because of this wonderful place with its wonderful people. But each of these internal mementos can also map to the material. The age of digital pictures has made it easy to take around some of life’s reminders on a laptop, but what about all the things that are only physically tangible, things you just cannot take? There’s my guitar. It was cheap but it got me through long days, and I’ve become a better musician because of it. But I have to sell it. There’s this random Danish lotion I got from the supermarket. I wore it all summer, and if the Copenhagen sunshine ever had a distinctive smell, it’s of that lotion. But I don’t have room to pack it. Then there are permanent fixtures about Denmark itself that I of course can’t bring — Kaffenhavn, my favorite coffee shop; the park near Christianshavn, the clean air, the 150S bus. Perhaps I’m anthropomorphizing too much, but I’ve ascribed personal importance to everyday things, and I’m going to miss all of it.

But, I know this will happen countless times in life. We simply can’t hold on to everything.

Change is a constant presence. I’ve had to come to terms with this in the last five months. I guess this is what scares me about any future prospects of living outside of safe little Southern California for extended periods of time — I’m leaving a piece of myself in every place I go, and what if I just become Voldemort with a bunch of horcruxes scattered throughout the world (except Voldemort was an idiot and only hid his in Great Britain… greatest dark wizard ever YEAH RIGHT). And this prospect of wandering is simultaneously frightening and exhilarating.

But I guess that’s one of the fascinating philosophical aspects about studying planets and the universe (you knew I would make this post about space, didn’t you). The world is carved up with geographical and cultural divides, but every human being shares the same last line on their addresses: Earth. It sounds damn cheesy, but it’s comforting to know that we all, in a sense, have the same home. So no matter where I go, I guess I’m always at home. 🙂

A photo of Earth from Voyager I in 1990, 6 billion km away

“That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” — Carl Sagan