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  • Writer's picturetatum van dam

the things i live for

As of a few days ago, I officially live on my own, in what I refer to as "home number twelve."

Even though Los Angeles is much closer to my other “home” in relation to Paris, I found this move much tougher. It’s not that I felt emotionally attached to the people and things in San Francisco, it’s just that I felt overwhelmed. I began to question what even lead me here - why I chose to transfer schools, why I chose one city over another, and why I felt so completely anxious and sad when all I have been looking forward to these last seven months was the “move to LA.”

It’s like you finally get what you want; whatever it may be - the girl, the guy, the shoes, the car... and when that conjured up idea becomes a reality, you become so… neutral about it. It’s almost as if the thing in your head is greater than the thing itself.

This idea constantly runs through my mind, and further leads to self-questioning. I've been pondering about what truly makes me happy and what I am truly passionate about. I wonder what the reasoning is as to why my life taking all these twists and turns. And while thinking about these things, I’ve come to realize the things I live for.

I live for music. When a restaurant or store plays a song I like, and the street performers that are singing and playing their heart out outside of them. When the worker scans my ticket, and I walk into the vast kingdom otherwise known as the venue ready to dance like nobody’s watching. When I hear the first note of the first song of the night and know it’s going to be a good one. When I press the key on the piano, and when I freestyle rap with my friends. When I stay in my parked car to sing the last of the song playing at the top of my lungs, and when I place a record on the turnstile. When I put my earbuds in and walk down the street, resisting the urge to break into dance. When I tap my fingers against my phone creating a beat, and when I discover a new song.

I live for travel. When I go to a place unfamiliar to me, with people I’ve never met, and things I have never tried. When I attempt to speak another language, and when I accidentally order “bratwurst” instead of “un bier” because the menus at Oktoberfest are not for drinks.

When I miss my bus home from Brussels and have to find an alternate way back. When I lose my debit card in Iceland, have no gas, and only U.S. dollars for backup money. When I finally arrive in Rome at midnight, taxis on strike, and hop in a random man’s van and trusted he would take me to my destination (in no way am I encouraging you to do this). When I purchase a plane ticket and plan a new trip, and when I feel truly content.

I live for my friends. When we go on spontaneous trips, whether it be to another country or just to get donuts down the street. When they let me know they care, and when they give me their jacket when I am cold. When we have phone calls until two in the morning and give each other advice, even though neither of us really know anything (but who does?).

When we FaceTime from opposite sides of the country, and when we sit in silence next to each other - because sometimes it’s nice to enjoy silence with someone else. When we go on hikes and admire the world we live in, and when we stay in and binge watch a new show. When I am remembered that I am loved and I am lucky.

I live for creativity. When I pick up the weapon that is my pen and write in my journal about the day I’ve had. When I watch my friend make music and watch him progress as a producer each and every day. When I go to big cities and see breakdancers, street artists, and performers. When I see people who are passionate about what they do, without having to hear the words “it’s my passion.” When I make shapes out of ordinary objects like the clouds in the sky and the leaves on the ground and see things in a different way. When I press the recording button, and when I hear the shutter click. When I capture the moment of someone's genuine happiness, and when I feel just as happy in doing so.

I live for my family. When Sidney gets his bubble tea at the same exact time every single night, and when Tanner takes a step, putting his toes down before his heel.

When Jaymi’s sarcasm is almost impossible to decipher, and when Grandma is convinced that someone is stealing her milk - even though it is herself who finishes a can each day. When I look at my photo of Papa on my desk and remind myself I am doing it all for him.

When my dad cracks a “dutch joke” and pronounces “quesadilla” as “ques-e-dilia,” and when we have to talk my mom out of buying a “panwaffle” - a contraption that makes both a pancake and a waffle at the same time. When we are not physically together as much as families should be, although we all know we love each other no matter what.

We all have the things we are passionate about, and the people we love, and it’s important we remind ourselves of them each and every once in a while. If you are ever feeling sad, remind yourself of the things that make you most content. The things that make life worth living.

What do you live for?

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